UK Exports Hit Record Levels in 2018/2019

Is your business prepared to deal with the increasing competition for haulage experts dealing with UK exports? Learn more with Smart Directions.

According to the recent UK exports statistics released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on 10th May, UK firms have exceeded expectations by producing a record-breaking year in overseas sales for the 2018/2019 financial year.

It is important to note that when we say record breaking, we do in fact mean that the data unequivocally shows this was best financial year since records began, with overseas sales reaching a staggering £639.9 billion.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, was quoted as saying “UK exports continue to grow and beat records across Europe, these new numbers published today (10th May) highlight the quality and innovation of British goods and services and how much they are valued across the globe.”

Given the data, it’s fair to say that Dr Liam Fox is incorrect. Compared to the previous financial year of 2017/2018, the total exports for 2018/2019 grew at a rate of 3.0% which ultimately equated to an impressive increase of £18.5 billion in real terms.

Interestingly, all of this has occurred despite a bearish outlook for the global economy as a whole. However, UK exports have been continuing to grow over the last 36 months on an annual rolling basis. Clearly, companies across the country have been undeterred in their growth strategies.

Foreign investment is on the rise too

Despite certain media speculation, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK is also on the rise too; again, at record levels. Data released Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) in the week previous to 10th May showed that UK inwards investment stock had also increased significantly by 5% to £1,400 billion. This confirms that although the UK is marred with the potential negative effects of Brexit, it remains the leading country for FDI in Europe and the third highest in the world.

So, what does this all mean for UK businesses and British exports as a whole?

With UK exports and the general economic outlook looking to continue in an upward trend, businesses involved in exports must ensure that their logistical operations are capable to handle an increase in demand.

This is even more important given the impending reality of Brexit and the continued potential for a ‘no deal’ situation come 31st October 2019.

Thankfully, at Smart Directions we plan far ahead to ensure our customers never experience disruption to their crucial logistical operations. This way, we stay on top of economic and regulatory complications whenever they may arise, both domestically here in the UK and internationally as well.

We offer a wide range of dependable and affordable logistics services, such as Express Worldwide, UK Overnight Parcel Delivery, Sea Freight, European Express Van and Customs & Special Services to name but a few.

No matter how complex your logistical requirements may be, our team will work diligently around the clock to ensure your export and import demands are dependably met whenever required.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you tackle the coming months or years for your import and export requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today or you can request a quote.

Brexit Extension – What it Means for International Trade

In response to the UK Government’s request for a Brexit Extension, the 27 members of the EU have agreed as it’s clearly unfeasible to reach a satisfactory conclusion by March 29. Now, if UK Prime Minister Theresa May is able to get parliament to agree to her withdrawal agreement, she’ll be granted an extension to May 22 in order to finalise the proposed plan.

However, if May is unable to get her deal through parliament then the deadline will be reduced to April 12. So, what can this mean for Brexit and business should she fail to agree a deal that leads to frictionless trade between the UK and the EU? Well, while it’s clear that the best-case scenario is a comprehensive trade agreement between the UK and the EU, the worst-case scenario would be a failed negotiation that leaves the UK entering into a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on April 12.

This haphazard period over the last few years has left businesses across the UK and Europe facing unprecedented uncertainty when it comes to imports and exports. While the UK Government remains “confident” that there will be a deal reached they are suggesting that each individual business considers how a ‘no-deal’ scenario would affect them. However, the only positive thing that can be taken from the Brexit extension is that it gives businesses slightly more time to put protective measures in place.


Brexit extension and effect on businesses – customs and excise

Should the UK leave the EU with a ‘no deal’ situation, the short-term Brexit effect on business will be sudden and potentially disruptive. However, with the right strategy and documentation in place your business should be subject to as little disruption as possible.

To help your business continue its import and export operations with the EU as smoothly as possible, we’ve created this essential checklist for you to follow. Remember, time is running out so you must act quickly if you haven’t already completed these steps



The first step in preparing for Brexit is registering for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This will enable your business to continue to import and/or export your goods to or from the EU should the UK leave without a trade deal in place. In essence, an EORI number will make it far easier for your business to apply for customs authorisations. However, the UK Government is yet to release the finer details on the customs authorisation process.

If you still need to apply for a EORI number, please do so by visiting the UK Government’s website.


2. Import/Export declarations

Import and export declarations are an essential part of the trade process in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. If you haven’t done so already, the Brexit extension gives you a little more time to decide whether your business will be making its declarations independently (this can be done by purchasing specialised software that interacts with HMRC’s systems) or if you outsource this task to an external agent.

Should you choose an agent, it’s vital that your business makes contact as quickly as possible. You’ll both need to establish the precise information needed for the agent to act on your behalf. But, if you choose to go it alone, you will need to carefully select a software provider that can cater to the unique import and/or export requirements of your business.


3. Speak with an expert logistics company

If your business is dependent on a logistics company in order to transport your goods, you will need to reach out to them and clarify how your professional relationship will work in a post ‘no deal’ Brexit. It’s quite possible that they will need further information from your business so that they can make any necessary safety and security declarations on your goods. However, you may also make these declarations yourself should you wish to take on that responsibility.


Questions on how Brexit could impact your business?

At Smart Directions, we’re at the forefront of logistics and haulage. We’ve carefully considered the Brexit effect on business and the how the Brexit extension can further impact trade. If you’d like to speak with a qualified member of our team about Brexit and business or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us now. Alternatively, you can stay up to date on Brexit related news by bookmarking our Smart Directions News page.

Brexit News and The UK Government’s Latest advice

3 Measures Your Business Needs to Action

In a December Brexit news communication from HMRC’s Deputy Chief Executive, Jim Hara, it’s been made explicitly clear that the UK will be leaving the European Union at 11pm on 29 March 2019. While this shouldn’t come as a terrible surprise, businesses have been left in a great deal of uncertainty in the lead up to Brexit.

However, HMRC has laid out their Brexit advice in 3 actionable steps for businesses to take as soon as possible. If you import from or export to the EU, there will be immediate effects on the way we trade with the EU after Brexit.

While some uncertainty continues to remain, it’s extremely important to use the information laid out in the Government’s Brexit advice checklist. Failing to do so ahead of time could risk causing significant disruption to your trading operations.

To keep up-to-date on the latest Brexit news for businesses that trade with the EU, please bookmark the Smart Directions News page. Alternatively, talk to one of our experts to better learn how our experienced team can help you manage your business’ logistical requirements in the event of any Brexit scenario.


Brexit news, advice checklist:


Firstly, your business is going to need to register for a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. An EORI number will allow your business to continue to import and/or export goods to the EU if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal in place. Having this number will make applying for customs authorisations easier for your business, but those steps will be released by the Government in a subsequent latest Brexit news update.

To apply for an EORI number, please visit the UK Government’s website.


Import/Export declarations

The second piece of Brexit information released by the UK Government pertains to import/export declarations. Your business is going to need to decide whether to make these declarations (by purchasing software that’s capable of interacting with HMRC’s systems) independently or outsource the responsibility to an external agent.

However, if you choose an agent, contact them as soon as possible to establish exactly what information they will need from your business. But, if you choose to make the declarations yourself, reach out to a software provider to ensure that their product will meet the needs of your import and/or export requirements.


Contact your logistics or haulage company

Lastly, it’s essential that your business contacts any external companies you use for your logistical or haulage requirements. They may need additional information from your company in order for them to make safety and security declarations on your goods. Alternatively, you may learn that your business will need to make these declarations independently.

While the latest Brexit news can often seem daunting, mitigating the disruption your business could face is an important step to take. If you have any questions about the Brexit information we’ve laid out here, please don’t hesitate to contact a friendly member of the Smart Directions team today.


What are the Brexit Consequences for Logistics?

The effects of Brexit on businesses and logistics have been hard to precisely pin down since the UK voted to leave the European Union back in 2016.  However, businesses, economists and politicians have all made various claims about what they believe the Brexit impact on trade between the UK and EU might look like.

Thankfully, the UK government has attempted to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the Brexit consequences in a ‘no deal’ scenario. On the 23rd August 2018, the UK government published a number of white papers on Brexit and logistics which will help businesses to understand the issues they’ll face in the wake of a ‘no deal’ situation.

At Smart Directions, we’ve been carefully planning our own Brexit strategy to minimise the disruption our customers will face if a deal isn’t reached. To speak with an experienced member of our team about Brexit and logistics for your business, please contact us now.


Brexit impact on trade: importing from the EU


In a ‘no deal’ scenario, UK businesses importing goods from the EU should expect mandatory import declarations, customs border checks and customs duty charges. In essence, businesses will be required to follow the same customs rules that are in place for trading with non-EU countries at the current time.

Before importing goods from the EU, businesses will be required to:

  • Apply for an import license if necessary
  • Register an UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number
  • Change contracts and International Terms and Conditions of Service (INCOTERMS) to reflect that they are an importer
  • Choose the correct classification for the value of their goods and enter this into their declaration. Learn more about tariffs here.
  • Decide whether you will submit import declarations yourself or use a logistics company like Smart Directions to submit them for you

When importing goods from the EU, businesses will be required to:

  • Have submitted an import declaration to HMRC
  • Pay any Value Added Tax (VAT) and all import duties
  • Have already registered and received a valid EORI number
  • Ensure that their carrier has submitted an Entry Declaration
  • Declare any goods on EMCS bound for onward movement if required


 Brexit impact on trade: exporting to the EU


For businesses looking to export good to the EU in a ‘no deal scenario, it will be required that they follow the same customs procedures currently in place when exporting to a non-EU country.

Before exporting goods to the EU, businesses will be required to:

  • Register an UK EORI number
  • Change contracts and INCOTERMS to reflect that they are an exporter
  • Decide whether you will submit import declarations yourself or use a logistics company like Smart Directions to submit them for you

When exporting goods to the EU, businesses will be required to:

  • Have already registered and received a valid EORI number
  • Submit their export declaration to HMRC by using their software, online, or through a logistics company like Smart Directions (this may need to be completed in advance)
  • Apply for an export license or provide additional documentation if exporting certain goods or if there are customs export conditions that need to be met

While the Brexit consequences for logistics and trade aren’t set in stone, there’s a possibility that businesses will need to take the steps we’ve listed if importing from or exporting to the EU. In our next article, we’ll outline how business can work to mitigate the effects of Brexit on their logistics operations.

However, if you’d like to speak with a highly-qualified member of our team about developing a logistics strategy to help your business weather a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, please get in touch with us today.

Holiday shipping – not just suitcases – Global Logistics

Many of us like to have our belongings with us, wherever we stay. For some of us, that means taking treasured items with us, on a two week holiday break. But for those who live a different lifestyle, or are perhaps retired, shipping your belongings can mean something completely different, with completely different global logistics requirements.

Some people live out their year spending summer months in one place, and winter in another. There are families who divide their year up into three or four spells, depending on the seasons. Perhaps an extended stay in the Alps allows for the enjoyment of summer meadows, or winter skiing, while fans of sea breezes will escape to a coastal home for the hottest period of the year.

An extended stay could mean shipping a season of clothes, and perhaps some other useful items, from one place to another. Animal lovers may also want to ship their treasured pets with them, as they move to their new seasonal home, something that may be complicated by local and regional quarantine rules, to prevent the spread of diseases across borders.

At the more extreme end of things, you may have extremely wealthy individuals who spend summer in London, shipping their Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other supercars to the British capital. Such individuals will rely on the services of international logistics companies, who are capable of taking their luxury car, carefully, from one location to another. Frequently, individual cars are shipped inside a container – though for those in a hurry to have their wheels in a new city, air freighting is a speedier option.

Equally, there are those with luxury yachts who like to spend time sailing across the oceans, or hanging around in one part of the world, before fetching their vessel back home. Sometimes sailors run out of holiday time, while others simply want to cruise around the Caribbean in their gin palaces, after spending a few months in the Mediterranean. For these people, there are specialist boat shipping companies.

Sometimes, a crew can be arranged to sail a yacht from one part of the world to another. Alternatively, there are a growing number of specialist companies that will put a yacht onboard specialist freighters, and transport it from one sea to another. That may sound an expensive option, but for busy people it may be their preferred choice – while also protecting a smaller vessel from full exposure to large scale storms, which can be encountered in some oceans at certain times of the year.

The examples above only go to prove that, wherever there is a need, the global logistics industry can deliver a solution. So whether you think your shipping requirement is mundane, or extraordinary, the best first step you can take is to contact Smart Directions and speak to one of our global logistics experts who will go through the procedures with you and manage the global logistics for you, every step of the way.
Call Smart Directions and speak to one of our UK Global Logistics experts on 01442 507240 or contact us here.

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