Q&A with Sebastian Gardiner

Sebastian Gardiner, Managing Director at Peel Ports Logistics, one of the UK’s leading shipping and freight forwarders owned by Peel Ports, explains the importance of being prepared ahead of Brexit on 1 January 2021.

What impact will Brexit have on customs clearance?

Currently, any goods that enter the UK from the EU can do so freely, but this is all set to change with the end of the Brexit transitional period on the 31 December 2020.

On 1 January 2020, the transition period is over and the obligation of customs clearance of goods moving between the EU and UK will begin.

To ensure the free flow of goods and avoid unwanted delays, a robust customs clearance procedure will need to be in place for goods coming from the EU and Ireland into the UK and vice versa.

What uncertainties remain and how can these be mitigated?

As Brexit negotiations continue, we don’t know if the government will reach a final deal.

However, regardless of a deal or no-deal Brexit, what is certain is that things are going to change and there will be new customs requirements that businesses will need to prepare for.

At Peel Ports Logistics, we’re set up for both eventualities and our intention is to continue to ensure the seamless movement of goods. 

Seb Gardenar 1
Sebastian Gardiner, Managing Director at Peel Ports Logistics

What are the implications for businesses come 1st January if they don’t have the right customs paperwork in place?

When importing or exporting, the right customs clearance paperwork will be crucial ahead of the Brexit deadline.

Missing or inaccurate documents can increase risks, lead to delays and extra costs or even result in your cargo unable to leave the port of entry.

Whether you’re importing or exporting, you need to know what paperwork is required. Even if you use a freight forwarder or an agent, it’s still up to you to make sure the right documentation is available.

What other impacts will be felt by businesses?

A few weeks ago, we heard Michael Gove’s warning that 7,000 trucks could be queuing for up to two days in Kent due to delays caused by Brexit. This would impact vital goods such as food and medicines entering the UK.

We’ve long argued that the UK is overly reliant on a few key pinch points in the South-East like Kent.

It’s no surprise that all businesses will be impacted by the changes Brexit will bring, and it’ll be necessary for them to re-evaluate their business model, maybe using other ports across the country as regional gateways, to avoid costly delays and future proof their supply chains.

Why should businesses consider using a customs clearance agent?

With the imminent and potentially complicated changes to customs clearance procedures, a trusted agent can ensure the smooth movement of your goods.

At Peel Ports Logistics, we offer fully integrated solutions combining shipping, port operations, storage and transport services to simplify your logistic flows around the world.

We take the complexity out of your supply chain model and provide cost effective, carbon-friendly services, for a truly integrated ‘one-stop-shop’ logistics network.

What systems does Peel Ports Logistics have in place to support the new changes?

Customs clearance processing is 100 per cent online and as such, we’ve invested heavily in both personnel and IT systems to ensure a seamless customs clearance process for all our customers.

Our new system, Data Freight, will future-proof the business ahead of Brexit and beyond.

Whether it’s import, export, or transhipment, our expert team can manage your clearance processes and ensure you conform to all Customs/Statutory Bodies' requirements.

How are Peel Ports Logistics and Peel Ports placed to support this?

Together, we’ve been preparing rigorously for the last few years.

We have invested heavily at our Liverpool, Heysham and Sheerness ports to relieve pressure by ensuring they have the capacity to accommodate switch routes and modes.

We’ve taken steps to improve resilience ahead of Brexit, with increased throughput capacity for HGV trailers, containers and storage to support smooth operations for our customers.

Peel Ports Logistics is based in the North West and we’re also able to offer proximity to market benefits, which allows goods to reach their end destination more reliably and with less reliance on increasingly scarce truck drivers.

With containers accounting for much of the traffic entering the ports versus our southern counterparts, there are less human touchpoints which helps to reduce unwanted delays such as barrier checks and so forth.

This makes us an ideal supply chain partner and an alternative solution to avoid delays.

Both importers bringing goods into the UK and exporters moving goods out of the UK will be impacted by Brexit.