At the Pats show at Sandown in Britain in spring 2019, the topic came up in all conversations. Company representatives mostly expressed the view that they wanted to wait and see how things would progress. After all, nothing had yet been decided that would provide a steer on how to proceed. One or two were heard to say that their companies would be considering export warehouses in the Netherlands, so as not to get left behind by Europe.
The debate dominated the daily news for years, and not just in the United Kingdom. The country had already left officially on 31 January 2020, but a transition phase ensued, which extended to the end of 2020.
The political world, companies and the population were instructed to prepare for exit from the EU. It was only very late in the day, however, that EU representatives and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were able to agree on a deal.For many companies it came too late, and from mid-December 2020 chaos was a familiar sight at the Channel crossing. The long queues of lorries in Dover have become symbolic of the Brexit policy.
The consequences for trade
"Retailers face significant bureaucratic obstacles if they wish or need to import goods from other EU states," reports Jana Suhr, sales director for Benelux/France/UK at Trixie. She assumes that smaller independent retailers will look around increasingly for procurement options within the UK, and so the network of wholesalers could be expanded. "It has become very clear that British retailers were not adequately prepared for the future costs of customs duty and customs processing by the policy," says Jana Suhr. She adds: "Our aspiration is to continue to supply our customers in the UK directly from Germany."
For Trixie's part, no goods were shipped to the UK for a period of four weeks, three weeks at the end of 2020 and the first week of the new year. This was because internal order processing became much more complex. In addition, while pallet shipments were generally delivered within the normal time frames, parcel consignments were considerably delayed or did not arrive at all.
Voices from the UK
"The consequences of Brexit are no different from the processes by which we export to other regions of the world - to the United States, for example, or to Canada," comments Carina Evans of Podium Pet Products. She is sure that the problems of goods traffic at the borders will be resolved once shippers understand the new requirements in respect of billing details. "We import chiefly from…