The Brexit transition was never going to be easy – but the Covid pandemic has certainly ratcheted up the challenges.
The UK government is putting out fires wherever possible with a recent funding commitment of up to £23 million for seafood exporters across the UK who have been particularly hard hit.
They have had the most significant new requirements to adjust to, and even a short delay can lead to goods perishing - at a time when the industry is facing lower market prices and demand due to the pandemic, according to a government advisory.
In the meantime, to avoid back-ups due to mandatory Covid testing, the government has ramped up the number of sites where drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs, coaches and vans can get free Covid-19 tests and border readiness checks before transporting goods to the EU.
For some, however, the border crossing issues are demanding desperate measures, with Lloyds Loading List reporting that UK retailers could abandon goods EU customers want to return. Some are even considering burning them because it’s less expensive than bringing them home under the new UK-EU trade rules.
The publication refers to a BBC report which reveals that various major UK retailers and brands have a mounting volume of goods stuck with courier services in mainland Europe, with couriers and freight businesses that ship from the UK to Europe also experiencing delays to goods because of new customs and other requirements.
The report quotes Adam Mansell from the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) saying it is often cheaper for retailers to write off the cost of goods than deal with new additional customs costs, “either abandoning or potentially burning them”.