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Brexit red tape overwhelming the entire industry

Brexit red tape is disturbing both the UK and the EU. Mistakes in the way forms are being filled out are a common scenario that delays lorries at ports. It’s not just the companies sending the goods that suffer – custom broker firms are struggling to keep up, with most staff working 90 hour weeks. 

Customs brokers in the UK and EU in shortage as the Brexit red tape piles up

It’s becoming evident that customs broker training is needed on both sides, the UK and the EU. Many customs broker companies are at their capacity already, turning hauliers away. At the same time, many hauliers are seeking expert help as they face more and more problems with getting their shipments across the border. 

In an interview with Bloomberg, a small freight forwarder shipping goods between Britain, Germany, Serbia and Croatia said that he is unable to find a customs broker firm that is ready to take on the task of preparing his paperwork.  

There are simply not enough trained custom brokers to fulfil the demands of all the paperwork needed to get the goods across the Channel. The Brexit trade deal resulted in 200 million extra forms every year. It’s been estimated that in order to process these the industry requires 50,000 extra customs brokers. According to some sources, currently only about a fifth of that has been deployed to help post-Brexit trade flow smoothly. 

The way the forms are filled out is very important. Any little mistake, from the colour of your pen ink to one single incorrect wording being used on the forms can result in a rejection. This makes the job of customs brokers even more challenging and creates backlogs in their workload. 

Some of the largest logistics companies, such as Kuehne + Nagel International AG,  are struggling to grapple with the new paperwork and are having to turn business away. To accommodate their customers, the company developed an IT solution that digitizes the documents and checks them – similar to the IT solutions we offer our clients here at UK Customs Solutions. 

More fines from February 1st

Lack of correctly filled out paperwork results in delays at ports and depots. This sees hundreds of lorries parked up on the sides of the roads causing disruption for those who do manage to present correct paperwork. 

Apart from the £300 fine lorry drivers may get if they fail to present the Kent Access Permit, from February 1st there will be a fine of £50 given to those that wait around for longer than 2 hours. The aim of this new fine is to avoid disruption at the ports where hauliers are waiting to get their paperwork to clear. It is meant to incentivise haulage companies to ensure their lorry drivers turn up with correct documents. 

HMRC said the new fine would not be applied if the checks themselves take more than 2 hours. Opponents of the new fine question how this would be regulated and enforced. 

The Brexit trade deal has already increased costs for most importers and exporters. Adding extra fines for small mistakes that can be avoided is not what these businesses want. Here at UKCS, we have an in-house IT department developing solutions that help avoid these mistakes. We’ve spent months training and expanding our taskforce to help businesses like yours navigate this turbulent time. Get in touch today and see how we can help you! 

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