Suffolk logistics firm call on new PM to tackle complex customs checks

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Now that the election is over, a Suffolk-based transport logistics firm are calling for Sir Kier Starmer to tackle complex customs checks as a key priority if he’s serious about improving the local, and national economy.

Waller Transport Services is a logistics firm specialising in shipping solutions across the country, as well as handling imports and exports to and from the UK.

Darryn Flynn, Managing Director, Waller Transport Services

Darryn Flynn, Managing Director of Waller Transport Services says, “Since Brexit, there have been significant complications when it comes to trading with other countries. It has become much harder for businesses of all sizes to make a profit, simply because the customs checks have become overly complicated and difficult to manage. Now that Sir Kier has appointed his new cabinet, we want to see the new Department for Business and Trade listen to and understand the challenges we facing. 

“Simplifying the red tape that surrounds transport logistics could be crucial to improving our economy – but that can only happen if the new Cabinet are prepared to make the necessary changes.”

Waller Transport have outlined four key areas that they want the new government to review. 

Reducing the lengthy customs checks for exports. The introduction of mandatory SIVEP (the Veterinary and Phytosanitary Border Inspection Office) certification checks for any item that derives from animal or plant products is continuing to cause lengthy delays. 

Waller Transport estimate that four out of every five trucks spend more than two hours getting caught in the complexity of SIVEP checks. 

If a shipment has any item which is derived from animal origin (no matter how small), those shipments need to be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian before they can proceed. Bizarrely, those checks remain the same, whether a business is transporting livestock, or perishable food items such as tinned tuna or even bottles of soy sauce!

This not only costs more for businesses in fuel and transportation but increases the likelihood of UK products being deemed not-fit-for-purpose, especially if it is fresh produce that requires time limited shipping. 

Border force checks are contaminating many consumer goods. Another issue is that increasing border force checks are causing more stock to be lost due to contamination. Every time a border force agent opens a package for inspection, that package has to be disposed of – often being sent to landfill or to an incinerator. This is disastrous for the environment, while also being unsustainable for small businesses operating on small profit margins.

Waller believe that due to customs performing overly intrusive inspections on goods, some firms are having to allocate as much as £100k per annum to stock losses as they can no longer sell or use those goods.  It is thoughts that between 60-65% of fresh produce and products of animal origin (POA) goods are stopped for further inspection. 

Fraud checks resulting in delayed shipments. Another complexity within customs checks is the increasing number of fraud checks conducted by customs agents. The checks are to confirm the authenticity and accuracy of all paperwork, but any discrepancies (even weight differences as minimal as 2kg) mean that the paperwork will be rejected until new documentation is provided. 

Further complicating matters, while typical SIVEP and customs checks are available 24/7, the fraud teams only work Monday-Friday. This means that any shipment selected for additional checks on a Friday could be embargoed for several days. Bringing in a cohesive working pattern for all customs agents could expedite any fraud checks and reduce the problems caused by lengthy delays. 

European driver preferences. The final challenge for Sir Kier Starmer to tackle is the growing issue that many European drivers are reluctant to transport goods to the UK, due to the excessive number of problems they routinely face. This shortage of drivers is making imports far more expensive, which is having a significant impact on UK companies who rely on imports.

Darryn says, “We know that we need to adhere to the trading restrictions drawn by the Brexit negotiations, but there is so much work that could be done to reduce the bureaucracy and red tape. Overcoming these customs issues can make it much easier for businesses to improve their profit margins. By finding ways to make imports and exports far easier, Sir Kier can significantly improve the national economy. 

Right now, the logistics sector really needs his help and we’re excited that a change in government could deliver the changes we need to help support businesses across the UK.”

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