Feb 16, 2021
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A third of UK importers struggle with Brexit changes - report

Feb 16, 2021

UK retailers are facing “spiralling Brexit challenges” at border Customs and a crisis developing in Northern Ireland trade, according to international courier ParcelHero.

Photo: Public domain/Pixabay

Referring to ONS figures, it claims transport costs, border disruption and customs duties problems soared in the two-week period between 24 January and 7 February. Doubt has also been cast on the “viability” of the Northern Ireland protocol, the report adds.

Based on the ONS report, 'UK exporters and importers increasingly likely to face challenges', it claims 35% of businesses have experienced importing challenges because of disruption at the UK borders. That’s up from the 25% of importers reporting challenges in the previous two weeks. 

Similarly, 25% of exporters recorded disruption at borders, compared to just 19% reporting disruption in the preceding fortnight.

On transport costs, it claims 34% of businesses experienced exporting challenges because of a rise in related costs. That’s up significantly from the 25% experiencing transport cost issues in the previous two-week period.

Also, 30% experienced importing challenges because of a change in transport costs. Again, this is up significantly from the previous two weeks’ figure of 28%.

Referring to Customs duties, 26% of businesses experienced exporting challenges because of customs duties or levies, a big jump from the 16% of exporters reporting issues in the previous two-week period.

Likewise, 26% experienced importing challenges because of customs fees in the reported fortnight compared to 16% in the preceding two weeks.

“Perhaps even more concerning, in terms of both trade and politics, are the escalating problems experienced by those shipping goods to Northern Ireland”, the report also stresses. 

It claims the The Northern Ireland Protocol is in danger of “unraveling entirely” if these trends continue. It says 44% of retailers and wholesalers reported the volume of goods they shipped to Northern Ireland decreased in the latest two-week period, compared to the previous fortnight. 

Some 31.5% of manufacturers reported their export volumes to Northern Ireland fell during the latest period. Of all businesses who had sent, or intended to send, goods from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland in the last two weeks, 38% reported sending fewer goods.

“These problems will only escalate as a waiver on customs declarations on parcels sent from the rest of the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland runs out on 31 March, and certification requirements ramp-up on supermarket goods in April. The government urgently needs to renegotiate these deadlines with the EU”, the report says.

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