Brexit has been on our minds for years now but as we’ve officially left the EU, it’s time your business got clued up on what the departure means for any ongoing or regular freight solutions. Now, it won’t come as a surprise that a few things will be changing – what else can you expect after leaving a 47-year long relationship – however, this doesn’t mean that there’s any cause to be anxious or concerned about the future of freight. Instead, it’s best to keep a pragmatic mindset and seek the guidance of expert hauliers – which is, of course, exactly where we come into the picture. 

At present, it’s impossible to say which industries or businesses will be most impacted by the departure as we’re only just beginning to see the results. However, logic tells us that businesses that regularly trade internationally will be those who face the most notable of challenges – whether that’s retailers, grocery providers or manufacturing factories. But whilst these may be the most affected industries, it is still vital that all businesses prepare for some level of inconvenience as all trade coming from outside of the UK will face unfamiliar restrictions and challenges.

So, what can UK businesses expect?

Changes in Customs Documentation

With our departure from the EU, we’ve also waved goodbye to free trade between the UK and members of the EU. And, whilst it’s all well and good to note down this fact, you’ll need to take time and understand what it means for you. Any UK business (excluding Northern Ireland) who wishes to import goods to the UK or export goods to the EU will need to file a customs declaration form. If you’re transporting goods of a specific variety (such as hazardous chemicals) you’ll need to get a special license prior to transportation. Similarly, goods like alcohol, tobacco or fuel will likely incur additional paperwork and procedures that must be complied with when they are imported or exported. You may also need to provide additional security and safety information. And, finally, you’ll need to understand and respect the different VAT requirements that come with EU trade.  

Whilst this may seem like a lot to think about, it’s important not to get overwhelmed. There is nothing in the above list that cannot be achieved with some comprehensive pre-planning. Moving forward, businesses, affiliates and hauliers will need to allow for extended time periods spent preparing for an import or export – especially whilst we get used to this new way of doing things.

Prepare for Supply Chain Disruptions

Like any new process, there’s bound to be some bumps. So, as we further distance ourselves from the comfort of the Brexit transition period, businesses will need to get used to elongated supply chain scheduling. 

As you’ll have likely assumed, the above changes to customs procedures will mean that any and all supply chains will likely find themselves facing significant delays. This reality isn’t all that groundbreaking, as we’ve already seen hauliers left queuing at borders in January. And whilst we can’t yet know if this is an effect that’s here to stay for the rest of 2021 and beyond, we can prepare for the possibility by extending our timelines.

Disruption to Workforces 

Just like the transportation of goods will be more challenging to accommodate, individuals within the EU will be facing further difficulty when trying to immigrate into the UK. As UK businesses and the UK freight industry relies heavily on non-UK workers, you may find, or have already found, yourselves facing a staffing shortage. As a result, your supply chains could face further disruptions as your remaining staff are spread across all logistics services. 

Regulation Changes

Whilst trading, the UK has adhered to EU-standards in reference to workers’ rights, consumer protections and general trading practices. As we solidify our exit from the EU, we’ll need to adapt to a post-Brexit regulation landscape. 

As we’re only one month into 2021, we can’t be entirely sure of how this will affect our businesses but we’re sure we’ll know soon enough.

We’re still in the early stages of our post-Brexit trading reality and whilst this can be nerve-wracking, we have no doubt that UK businesses will adapt and thrive in no time!

To find out more, speak to one of our experts today!

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