The Brexit deadline is on 31 October. No-one seems to know what is going to happen next. Will the negotiators come to an agreement? Will there be a no-deal? Are we looking at an extension of Brexit? How can a business prepare itself for such uncertainty?
Transport, especially, still up in the air
“Nobody knows what is going to happen. So, how can you fully prepare yourself?" asks Stephan van Wijk. He is from the Dutch company, Zoutewelle Import/Export's. "We already have experience with exports to Russia and Norway. We are, therefore, already known to customs officials."
"We know how to compile the accompanying customs documents. We have also registered with Portbase. This is for the pre-notifications at the ports. We have requested an EORI number for the UK too."
“The biggest problems we are running into is the things we cannot control, mainly transportation. What is going to happen at the ports and the Channel tunnel? When they have a meeting in the UK again, they must provide more clarity about this. Then we can start making real progress with the carriers."
"It is especially interesting to see how French customs is going to handle this. We have already seen how the queues to the Channel tunnel reached deep into France. This traffic jam was caused when they had the strikes there. How will things go with the delays caused by Brexit?"
Across the Channel
The wholesale markets are Zoutewelle's most important clients. "It is, therefore, difficult to reach agreements with clients because of Brexit. The larger companies are aware of the consequences of this change. The smaller ones, however, often do not know where they stand."
"For example, we asked if our clients wanted to request a TSP number. We received only one reply. It is still unclear to us how we will soon have to organize our exports to the UK. Even having an office there, might be an option. We have noticed that, in general, they are worse prepared for Brexit in England than we are in the Netherlands."
Wooden crates will soon have to meet specific standards set by the ISPM-15 quality label. “We are not buying any of these crates on a massive scale. Will Brexit soon be postponed by another three months?" asks Stephan, in conclusion.