Michael Gove’s announcement of £705m of investment a mere 12 months away from the end of the transitional period for free movement of goods has been heralded as too little too late, says our CEO Kate Lester.
When asked to speak about it on ITV News on Sunday 12th July 2020, Kate stated that the challenge was the lack of clarity on these plans and that operators needed clear guidance on precisely what their responsibilities would be in our post Brexit trading environment.
‘With only 19 trade deals struck with relatively minor trading partners such as South Africa and Korea, yet not with our major trade partners; China, USA and Europe, businesses are in the dark as to what our post Brexit trading world will look like. The onus has been on us, as businesses, to predict what measures we have to put in place on a worst case scenario basis and this has meant considerable investment in terms of technology development and administrative process including recruitment, to make provision on what, until now, has been our best guess at what the world will look like moving forwards.’
‘The big announcements of this government must be regarded in line with popular fundamentals of any project management – i.e. you have three key elements: time, resources, quality. If you are short of two of these elements the third will suffer. Currently with only 12 months to go we are running very close to the line especially in time and resources, which leads me to believe by July next year we may face chaos. The impact of this will be delays in goods being delivered – which in time or mission critical goods such as pharmaceuticals and non-ambient food stuffs this could present real challenges.’
‘And whilst investment is welcome, I’d like to consider the brevity of the task and the pragmatic assessment of the probability of £470m investment in port and customs infrastructure, and £235m in IT and staff, being adequate. With forecast customs documentation increasing from 50 million annual customs documents a year to 250 million industry experts are stating that there will be a need for up to 50,000 custom agents to process it all. The UK currently had just 5000. The wage bill per annum of these resources is £1.5bn by my estimation. Therefore this seems light to say the very least’.
When Kate then appeared on BBC Radio Four’s Today morning programme on Monday 13th July 2020, her focus was on getting the details of requirements of industry and underlining the lack of consultation. When asked about the so called opportunity of Brexit Kate stated, ‘Whilst long term there may be some upside, ultimately, with the uncertainty of supply and the lack of trade deals the position currently was very injurious to business in our sector’.
However Kate reassured them, ‘Our clients can be wholly reassured that diamondlogistics is at the front of the curve on all of this. We have been planning for worst case scenario for some time and have a variety of measures in place to match a variety of outcomes. We have already invested in our technology to ease international distribution for our clients and we believe we are very well placed to assist our clients with as easy a transition as possible. If any of our clients need to seek reassurance of the capabilities we have, please get in touch. We are here to help you’
Today the Road Haulage Association has published initial steps for the logistics industry to undertake as further information was provided by the government after Mr Gove’s statement to parliament this week.
Actions for traders as advised by government include:
- Apply for a GB EORI number - ONLY if not registered for VAT
- Get a Customs Intermediary
- Apply for a Duty Deferment Account - import only
- Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported Goods. This will include finding the correct commodity code for your goods.
You can listen to Kate on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme here - around 1hr 35mins into the programme.
On the ITV Sunday 6pm News here.
On the ITV Mondays 6:30pm News and ITV News at 10pm here.
For further advice and guidance on how diamondlogistics can assist you with your logistics requirements post Brexit, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0333 567 0391