If it’s not Brexit, it’s COVID causing problems for the post and parcel delivery services.
It’s easy to forget that the postal service relies on people, so it’s hardly surprising that the rising COVID cases and sickness levels have impacted its service. In January, Royal Mail listed 28 areas of the UK that could experience postal delays.
When it comes to parcel deliveries in and out of the UK, it’s not just sickness levels affecting their transit.
The suspension of flights, increased COVID checks on drivers and, of course, the confusion of Brexit has created a perfect storm that is having a crippling effect on the logistics industry.
COVID tests in drivers to continue
In December, it was announced that hauliers could only cross the channel if they had tested negative for COVID. This resulted in about 3,000 lorries stuck in Kent forcing the drivers to spend Christmas in their cabs.
The backlog was only cleared after mobilizing the military and firefighters to do over 10,000 COVID tests.
Heightened restrictions mean that lorry drivers will have to provide evidence of a negative COVID test until further notice when crossing the channel. In an interview with BBC News, Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, urged “all hauliers to get tested before getting to the border.”
In an attempt to prevent December’s chaos happening again, there are now 34 testing sites for hauliers at key stopping points across the UK to ensure drivers can take their test at least 72 hours before entry into France.
T1 transit document
Of course, COVID tests are not the only thing causing problems for hauliers right now. The arrival of Brexit has also seen a tsunami of changes and additional paperwork to content with.
One example is the T1 transit document, which allows goods originating from outside the EU, to move freely within. Its primary benefit is that no customs duties or taxes are payable as the shipment moves from one country to the next within the EU until the shipment arrives at its final destination.
In essence, it’s a customs finance guarantee, whereby, should the goods not be delivered to the customs checkpoint at the final destination, the agent issuing the guarantee is obliged to pay the customs duties.
If you try to export goods without one, your shipment will be held by customs officials, potentially for days, until the situation is resolved.
With the ever-growing number of documents required, it’s a good idea to partner with a courier firm that understands the new legislations and can raise the T1 on your behalf along with all the other customs export documentation required.
Will life ever be the same again?
The changes caused by Brexit are here to stay, but with the vaccination process now well underway in the UK (granted, the EU is playing catch-up) fingers are firmly crossed that life will return to some sort of normality later this year.
Of course, until all countries have achieved their vaccination targets (and COVID levels subside), we’re unlikely to see a full relaxation of testing and travel restrictions. Still, the light is now visible at the end of the tunnel.