Will there be a deal? A no-deal? An extension? No-one knows what will happen on 31 October, the deadline for Brexit. How can a company prepare itself for the unknown?
Fresh Garden is well-known for exporting Dutch greenhouse vegetables. They export especially tomatoes to the English market. This exporter will soon have to deal with exports to outside of the EU for the first time. This is because of the upcoming Brexit.
"We are as prepared as possible for Brexit,” says Jan-Hendrik Wagenaar. “For example, we have linked our systems to those of the customs office. We have made the necessary agreements with our carriers too. My father had experience with this kind of export in the past. But a lot of procedures and rules have changed since then. It will, therefore, be a fairly new experience for us."
Tomatoes, in particular, are exported by Fresh Garden to the UK.
Still six months of leeway
“We usually find ourselves in a quieter period by the end of October. Most of the greenhouse tomatoes have been sold by then. So, we have six more months to immerse ourselves in Brexit. If it goes through. We transport smaller amounts of cucumbers and bell peppers across the channel. It will not be a disaster if these fall by the wayside because of Brexit," Jan-Hendrik explains.
"We have tried to make deals with our clients on the other side of the channel. We have, however, received very little feedback. I think the biggest issues will arise mostly on the English import side. In my opinion, things have been well organized on the Dutch side. These arrangements are regarding exports."
"Half of our clients have not yet provided us with EORI and TSP numbers. There are even those that do not know what these numbers mean. Clients assume too much that 'it will all be arranged for us'," he adds.
"Luckily we are not at the height of the season anymore. Our clients are not ready for that. I hope this will change when it comes time for the Spanish season. The imports on the UK side will, in any case, be arranged from the Netherlands in the beginning."
“I think that, ultimately, everyone will find their feet. Products will find their way to England. I would prefer things to come to a conclusion. Rather than slogging on with Brexit,” Jan-Hendrik concludes