What Brexit Means for Groupage

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Brexit & Groupage

Brexit is casting a great deal of uncertainty over logistics and haulage, but one thing is certain – having your paper work in order will be key

Brexit may have dominated conversations for the past couple of years, but when it comes to transportation, many people are acutely aware that there remains a degree of uncertainty.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in what the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) means for groupage.

Groupage has always been a popular service amongst Middlegate Europe customers.

It’s an ideal way to move goods when you might not have a full truck or container load, as your cargo is included with another customers’ stock to fully utilise the trailer space.

It means you get the transportation you need, without having to pay for a full load. Where things might get complicated is in the post-Brexit customs environment.

We’ve all seen the stories of worst-case scenario planning, with the M20 turned into a HGV park as customs clearance creates significant delays.

Currently, based on a Port of Dover exercise, a groupage shipment involving eight consignments from outside the EU might take an hour and fifteen minutes to process 

This was a shipment that had originated from Turkey and had already gone through a number of checks when it entered the EU originally.

When the UK leaves the EU, Dover will become a non-EU origin port.

So now (and based on those worst-case scenarios), not only have we got the non-EU shipments to clear customs, but all the previous EU shipments will need to go through a similar process.

Of course, we don’t know for certain if that will be the process that consignments have to go through when entering and exiting the UK. 

One thing is for certain, though, regardless of what happens with Brexit the key to successful groupage transportation will come down to having the necessary paperwork in place. 

In doing to, this will rapidly speed up the process of clearing customs. 

We recently wrote a piece about customs clearance – even while we’re part of the EU, clearing customs for the likes of Switzerland, Norway and Eastern Europe means our team is well versed in the procedures and processes we’re all likely to have to follow once the UK has left the EU. 

While some of what is covered would seem like common sense – ensuring the driver has all necessary paperwork, correctly abbreviating the EU and using an original signature – you’d be surprised by the number of times documentation is included in the shipment itself.

Imagine if that happens to a groupage of eight consignments.

Other things to consider are ensuring you fill out commercial invoices with the correct information, whether you can reduce duties with an invoice statement, the importance of a CMR note and why packing lists, while not always obligatory, can be useful to have.

The key message is straight forward – whatever happens with Brexit, it’s likely that there’s going to be some form of customs clearance for goods entering and leaving the UK.

For groupage, that could become more complex, so it’s critical that your paperwork is in order.

If you do use groupage, regardless of what happens with Brexit, your logistics partner should still be able to transport your goods quickly and safely. That means in line with regulations as much as it does physically.

At Middlegate we support businesses importing and exporting between the UK and mainland Europe, with our state-of-the-art warehousing in Hull, Zeebrugge and Bierset.

To find out how we can help you with groupage, customs clearance and wider logistics support, get in touch.

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