You would think there was enough time to assess and anticipate the impact of Brexit on international trade. Nothing turns out to be further from the truth. Dutch companies have the most significant difficulty importing products, and we are not just talking about products coming from the United Kingdom. As a result of the Brexit troubles, Dutch customs cannot cope with document processing, which means that there is a huge backlog at the moment. As a result, a large part of the imported goods remains at the customs locations. Not a few days, but a few weeks. The economic impact is great.
Not a good preparation for Brexit paperwork
British companies and British customs are not well prepared for the amended rules regarding paperwork when trading to the EU from the United Kingdom. We read about companies that are not well aware of what to do to export their products. For example, it is not always clear which forms must be filled in and how to get the goods across the border. And when they already cross the border, it turns out that many goods remain at the customs locations in the destination country. This is also the case in the Netherlands.
Backlog of customs locations is disastrous for companies
The logistics centres where all shipments remain are becoming overcrowded. Inquiring where a load remains is a wasted effort. Packages cannot be traced and can lie at the bottom of the ever-expanding stack. Sometimes for weeks. Logically, this has consequences for companies that import their goods. Therefore, stock problems and having to sell "no" to the customer are not uncommon at the moment. And the unpredictability in this doesn't make it any easier. Nobody knows how long this will take and what wisdom is.
Delays lead to problems in the chain links that follow
As mentioned, the current situation is undesirable for the many companies affected. It has consequences for business operations in several areas. Praxas also imports some of the solutions from abroad and runs into problems. "We've been waiting for some of our products for weeks. Fortunately, there is sufficient stock available so that we do not have to sell "no" to our customers immediately. Still, it is annoying. If there is a large request from a new customer, there is a chance that we will not be able to meet the usual fast delivery time," says Bob van Velden, CEO of Praxas. "Our solutions are used to protect goods during storage and transport. In the event of delayed delivery, this can mean that the transports are also delayed. With all its consequences."
What is the best way to deal with this as an importer?
Much is unknown and unpredictable. Sometimes a shipment can arrive on time, but a delay of a few weeks is also something to consider when importing products from abroad. Buying in time and possibly keeping some extra stock seems the best remedy to deal with this situation, just like hoping that the problems will be resolved as soon as possible.