On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, and little will change in the transition period until the end of the year. Subsequently, Andreas Russ, Managing Director UK/Ireland at a. hartrodt in London, hopes for a free trade agreement. "This would nevertheless lead to considerable and underestimated additional costs," he warns. As examples he cites customs controls, customs declarations or customs documents/preferential authorisations. But according to Russ, a. hartrodt is taking precautions to ensure that "there will be no or only minimal delays in customs clearance".
Empowering employees for customs clearance
a. hartrodt has recruited additional staff in the offices at London Heathrow Airport and in Liverpool. The same applies to the Dublin site because the Republic of Ireland is closely linked to the British economy. "We provide internal and external customs training for new colleagues or those currently deployed elsewhere," reports Russ. The aim is "to be able to handle a potential increase in customs clearance requests". Good to know: The 30 employees at a. hartrodt UK/Ireland would give preferential treatment to existing customers should there be an increased demand for customs declarations.
Improving data connection to ports
Currently, a. hartrodt is investing more in direct data connections with the ports (port badges) in the UK. "This enables us to handle customs processes completely in-house, even in smaller ports," says Russ. The background is that the volume of customs clearance is likely to increase explosively as a result of the withdrawal from the EU. "Even with a free trade agreement, data would have to be sent to customs in the future," the manager points out. Then a. hartrodt can control the entire supply chain without possibly overburdened customs agents. In the case of a hard Brexit, infrastructure problems would be added. According to Russ, most British port, terminal and train operators as well as truck freight forwarders are "already operating at the limits of their capacity".
Despite the turbulent times, Russ is optimistic about the future: Due to a stable majority of the governing party in the UK, the economy has now been able to breathe a little sigh of relief. He hopes that "there will be movement in various fiscal and infrastructure projects and reforms".