Freight firm prepares for no-deal Brexit by achieving AEO status

International logistics firm Baxter Freight has officially been granted Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status – an internationally recognised quality mark for the supply chain – by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The freight firm, which employs 70 staff from its main office in Lenton, Nottingham, specialises in providing strategic solutions for businesses shipping goods between the UK, Europe and across the world. 

After undergoing rigorous checks on internal systems and processes, achieving AEO status means that Baxter Freight’s customs controls and supply chain security procedures have been judged to be highly efficient, compliant and meet UK, EU and international best practice. 

Ian Baxter, chairman of Baxter Freight, said: “Achieving AEO status is a fantastic milestone for the business and one that we’re extremely proud of. After much hard work put in by members of our team, we’ve met strict criteria on security, customs, operational processes, IT, storage, procurement and HR procedures following audits by HMRC. 

“AEO impacts all departments and not just those that deal directly with customs and trade. Regardless of Brexit, it ensures the goods we’re shipping for our customers are moved compliantly in a safe and secure environment across international borders.

“Having said that, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario or from whenever the UK effectively leaves the EU’s Customs Union, AEO will be extremely beneficial as preferential treatment from UK and overseas customs authorities will help to keep cargo moving as smoothly as possible. It will also reduce the need for financial guarantees, reducing our transaction costs. We believe dealing with an AEO accredited logistics provider will become essential for our customer base when the UK leaves the EU.”

At present, there are more than 15,000 AEO accredited organisations within the European Union, yet only around 650 are in the UK. 

Brendan Pickering, international freight and customs manager at Baxter Freight, has been instrumental in helping the logistics firm achieve AEO status. He said: “Gaining AEO is a lengthy and complex process so we are delighted to have achieved this recognition. For our customers, it distinguishes us as a reliable, trusted trading partner and means that their consignments will be safer, secure and less likely to face delays. 

“As a multimodal logistics firm that works with a network of long-term partners, preferred suppliers and the wider freight market to ensure we select the most suitable products at a competitive price, this is also a message to other AEO accredited firms that we’re ready to do business with them. Baxter Freight is a fast growing, ambitious company with big plans for the future and this investment is just one of several that we’ve identified in helping us to achieve our ambition of being widely recognised as the best provider of customer service in the UK freight market.”  

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