As you are likely aware, we are experiencing some of the most difficult trading conditions in our history. The situation we face is the result of multiple situations coinciding to create an unprecedented set of difficulties facing hauliers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, companies that import and those that export both to and from Europe, and globally.

The impact of Brexit

With the transition period now over, the realities of trading with the EU post-Brexit are becoming clear and our fears (made clear last year) are becoming a reality. Horror stories in the media abound. This story from The Guardian makes clear the issues facing smaller businesses that export to Europe. 

Andrew Moss, managing director of Horizon in Ely, Cambridgeshire is finding that VAT is now required to be paid by his customers upfront as a condition of customs clearance. This is a charge that could previously have been accounted for in a VAT return and wouldn't require upfront payment. This means his European customers are now having to pay an additional 20% on top of his quoted prices. 

 In search of a solution he contacted his local MP who put him in touch with a civil servant at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who was unaware of the issue. They, in turn, put him in touch with a senior trade adviser at the Department for International Trade who advised him that the best course of action would be to set up a company within the EU, and possibly most crucially that this issue is not just a 'teething problem'.

The impact of the pandemic

The situation with global shipping has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Stories are surfacing daily of the real problems facing importers of goods from outside of Europe. This story from the BBC News website highlights a common problem facing importers who are finding that due to a combination of the pandemic, shortage of available containers and bottlenecks at UK ports, quotes per container can now be six times the cost previously being quoted. The pandemic has increased demand of goods shipped from China, further exacerbating the problem.

The problems are impacting companies on both sides of the globe and it seems that issues are likely to continue into March and likely beyond.

How we are responding

At Grange Shipping, we continue to work as hard as possible to find the best solutions for your imports and exports. We also offer timely updates on the status of your freight and as much advice as we can offer. We are currently hiring more customs clearance staff allowing us to process more shipments, faster. We will keep this site up to date with the latest news from our company and insight into the problems and potential solutions as they arise.