LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s looming departure from the European Union has sparked a rush to bring goods into the country before Jan. 1, pushing up delivery prices and generating queues at borders.
Below is a summary of the changes that have taken place in the logistics market, and the rules that will come into force in the new year, whether or not Britain secures a trade deal with the bloc.
Freight forwarders who arrange the movement of goods say prices jumped in recent months as drivers, facing two or three times the amount of job requests that they can deliver, opt for the highest paid work. Many forwarders say they are at capacity and cannot meet all the requests.
Espace Europe said the cost of moving a set of goods from the Netherlands to London is now 2,500 pounds, compared with the 1,400 pounds it cost three months ago.
Italian domestic removals group Bolliger said from next year customers would also face tax and duties to move personal goods unless they can secure all the paperwork to avoid them, although this can take up to eight weeks in some cases.
Britain’s main ports such as Dover, Felixstowe and others are already under huge pressure due to a combination of Brexit stockpiling, Christmas and COVID-19.
The pandemic has disrupted global shipping routes, with containers left in the wrong place, affecting the operations of ports such as Felixstowe.
Britain’s main connection with the continent, the Dover-Calais short-strait route, is also struggling to handle the stockpiled goods and normal Christmas trade that come in on trucks, with miles of queues building on recent days.
Third-party customs brokers who fill out declarations for firms say they have been inundated with calls from companies grappling with the process for the first time.
A standard single customs declaration, which will be required with or without a trade deal, can cost up to 56 pounds a time, while tariffs would also apply to many goods if there is no deal. Both of these looming costs have driven stockpiling.
From Jan. 1, companies may need to buy third party software to submit the paperwork. A declaration requires more than 50 pieces of information such as a commodity code and customs procedure codes, plus details on the destination, packaging, transport methods, currencies, valuations and certificates.
Amazon has told customers that pricing and rules could change next year for those in the EU who buy from Amazon.co.uk and vice versa, with packages potentially subject to taxes or import fees.
It will accept returns and cover the cost if the item is defective, damaged or incorrect. Otherwise, transport costs or customs fees will be covered by the person returning the goods.
Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Ed Osmond
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