More post-Brexit support available

The Government has unveiled more support for logistics businesses on post-Brexit customs arrangements, as the UK prepares to leave the single market and the customs union on 31 December.

With the post-Brexit transition period now coming to an end, the Government hopes to build on its successful pilot of the ‘Get Border Ready’ information and advice centres. This initiative, trialled through five sites that helped almost 7,000 hauliers over a two-week period, will now be extended to a further 40 sites. These will offer a range of support including one-to-one training sessions on the new operating processes that will apply at the UK’s borders from 1 January 2021.

The 45 sites are located in key motorway service stations and truck stops across the UK, with 1,000 staff on hand to work with hauliers. Training is available in 13 languages so operators from across the European Union (EU) can access the guidance and advice on offer. See here for more details.

Meanwhile, the Government’s Border and Protocol Delivery Group has also invited logistics providers to take part in the ‘Check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ initiative. The group is seeking feedback as it looks to refine this service to meet operators’ needs and wants providers to test what’s on offer. It’s looking for freight forwarders, hauliers and logistics operators, as well as:

  • owner operators of micro haulage businesses and HGV drivers crossing the border via the Channel Tunnel or from the Port of Dover
  • businesses exporting their own goods to the EU via the Channel Tunnel or from the Port of Dover, with or without their own fleet/HGV drivers 
  • fast parcel operators, express services and integrators crossing the border via the Channel Tunnel or from the Port of Dover.

If you’re keen to participate in the initiative, email alfonso.gugino@hmrc.gov.uk

Getting to grips with the new regulations will make sure transport and logistics businesses can pursue overseas trade opportunities. In our recent Trade Barometer report, 40% of businesses said overcoming bureaucracy was one of the biggest challenges standing in the way of them increasing their international trade. Of this group, 50% cited customs documentation as a potential issue. This figure may increase as the post-Brexit arrangements become a reality on 1 January 2021.

We’re keen to help. We’re working with an international trade specialist who can advise on the steps you need to take to prepare your business. The service includes a diagnostic assessment to establish which Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) and commodity codes your business needs, advice on whether you’ll need proof of origin documentation, and help identifying other documents you’ll require. For more information, email international@santander.co.uk.

Shipping costs on the increase

As we move towards peak shipping season, several shipping lines have introduced surcharges and port congestion fees in the majority of Asian trade lanes. Both Alfaliner and the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index point out that spot rates for Chinese exports are rising and warn this will continue, with carriers adding peak surcharges throughout December.

A shortage of 40-foot containers across Asia is also driving up spot rates. In the most extreme example, rates on the Shanghai to Singapore route rose by 53% per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) last week. Increases on Asia to Northern Europe routes have been modest, but rates are nonetheless increasing.

In the UK, port congestion has eased at the main container hubs over the past week, but largely as a result of vessels diverting into Rotterdam, Antwerp and Zeebrugge. This has a knock-on effect with shipments arriving separately and resulting in further delays into UK ports, which is expected to continue into the New Year.

Air freight rates also continue to rise, despite more scheduled passenger services coming back online. Capacity on Asia to Europe routes has increased by over 16% in the past two weeks, helped by freight-only operators shifting capacity from Latin America, but this hasn’t been sufficient to meet the demand.

How we can help

All of the issues covered in this week’s update have the potential to impact our clients’ international supply chains. We work with a number of logistics companies with specialisms in particular markets or sectors who would be happy to provide impartial and free of charge advice. If you’re facing supply chain difficulties, please get in touch to discuss potential solutions that might help you overcome such challenges.

To discuss how we can help your business please contact ccbsectorinsights@santander.co.uk

Protecting your money - Financial Services Compensation Scheme (Opens in a new window)