Maersk Customs Services ensures your temperature-controlled goods move through customs seamlessly, without any last-minute delays.
What Brexit changed for this popular Mother’s Day gift
For people across the UK who love celebrating their mum, Mother's Day is a great opportunity to shower her with gifts. However, there's one go-to gift that you might have to skip this year. Following the shortages around Valentine’s Day, there are concerns that one of the most popular Mother's Day presents – flowers – could cost more, or worse, may not be available.
This year, Mother’s Day demand for fresh blooms may pose a challenge as there has been increasing volatility in flower prices due to Brexit, along with inflated freight charges due to the ongoing global supply chain disruptions and spiralling energy costs.
The new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) rules came into force on 1 January 2022 for imports in Great Britain. Prior to that, the effects of trading with the EU after Brexit were partially mitigated by a 175-day grace period for customs entries.
Valentine’s Day was the first proper test of post-Brexit supply chains. The cost of a bunch of flowers had increased by up to 2X this year compared to last Valentine's Day, partly because of tariffs imposed by the European Union after Brexit.
The Fresh Produce Consortium estimates that the new post-Brexit customs rules and tariffs will add £100 million to the cost of importing flowers to the UK. For a flower importer, this rounds up to an additional £200 per load.
Customs compliance for smooth border crossings
Certain product lines have attracted higher than normal delays since 1 January, which suggests that the new rules are causing significant friction for UK-based importers. To avoid unnecessary delays, disruptions at the border, or hampered deliveries, Maersk Customs Services helps you cut through the complexity of the customs clearance process.
Customs expertise: Since the acquisition of KGH in 2020, we have expanded our coverage and teams vastly across Europe. We have perishable experts on both sides of the border to ensure all documentation is handled with the utmost compliance for smooth clearances to be done speedily.
Manpower to match demand spike: In preparation for festive periods and special occasions, we ensure additional workforce to handle all clearances in time.
Internal synergies: Our UK teams have close alignment and cooperation with the teams in the Netherlands and coordinate on both sides of the border for seamless clearances.
Navigating Brexit complexity with integrated customs services
Maersk Customs Services, together with KGH, helped a customer speed up cross-border deliveries by managing customs, both at origin and destination.
With 80% of the flowers sold in the UK imported from the Netherlands, Maersk, in cooperation with KGH Customs Services, a Maersk Company, ensured that their customer was able to navigate the new Brexit landscape and facilitate the surge in demand in time for Mother's Day 2021.
The customer is one of the UK’s leading temperature-controlled logistics providers, specialising in floriculture and other fresh produce, and conducts daily deliveries to several major UK supermarkets. With multiple delivery locations situated across the southern and northern regions of the UK, completing all the required declarations for their goods as and when they are needed has become an increasingly laborious and manual process. Prior to Brexit, the customer did not face any issues with customs when sending their hauliers across the British border.
In the wake of Brexit, why is customs so critical for your integrated supply chain?
Cut flowers must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of around 4°C, with humidity levels maintained around 90% during their transportation. This helps avoid degradations such as the browning on petals and mould growth. However, even in refrigerated containers, the time in transport cannot exceed more than four days due to their fragility. Exporters face the challenge of keeping their produce fresh in transit to ensure they can reach their final destination on time. Utilising efficient logistical processes and avoiding long waiting times at customs is essential in preventing goods from perishing during transit.
Whilst flowers are gifted throughout the year, annual festivities create a significant surge in demand during peak seasons. This can cause issues in transit, as exporters deal with large fluctuations in shipments, at times exceeding 100 shipments a day. The customer was seeking to partner with a customs specialist who could ensure that they continued to operate post-Brexit, without tarnishing their standing. As the end of the Brexit transition period neared, the customer decided to start utilising Maersk Customs Services, provided by KGH, in preparation for the changes that would come into effect in 2021.
Complying with the Brexit processes in time for Mother’s Day
To soften the impact of the end of the Brexit transition period, businesses operating cross-border were empowered to continue exporting into the UK with relative ease.
Once the relevant paperwork had been handed over, including the newly required Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates from the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (PEACH) declaration, the team at KGH could begin to prepare the documentation required to ensure the necessary plant health and market standards controls.
This was done as early as possible due to the peak season, ensuring that the cut flowers did not face unnecessary delays and perish whilst waiting to clear customs.
This foresight enabled KGH to handle over 100 customs inspections in the rush to deliver flowers in time for Mother's Day in the UK, with much of the produce being sent to a storage facility in Middlesbrough.
KGH was committed to tailoring their services, making sure the customer was able to satisfy the UK supermarkets’ surge in demand for cut flowers. With a specially created team, combining staff from the Netherlands and the UK, KGH adapted their offering to provide PEACH declarations for the first time. Their dedicated efforts ensured that all the declaration forms were completed over the weekend to guarantee all border crossings and customs checks in the UK were conducted efficiently.
Continuing to navigate the further Brexit changes
The UK Border Operation Model came to an end on 1 July 2021, bringing further changes. EU-based companies exporting goods to the UK now have to face the entire burden of customs declarations at the point of importation. This includes the requirement of completing the import declaration prior to the haulier arriving in the UK.
The UK border's new digital system, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GMVS), is now in full force, and exporters need to issue a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) that links all their declaration references together. This enables each haulage driver to efficiently provide evidence that their goods onboard have pre-lodged all their required declarations within one GMR in real time, in theory.
Under the new GVMS system, exporters of time-sensitive products can no longer manually complete their declarations last minute after loading 50-60 haulage trucks. To guarantee businesses based in the European Union can continue exporting to the UK without disruption under the new changes, KGH’s range of custom services ensures that every process is delivered on time.
By integrating KGH’s European region specialisation with Maersk Customs Services, we are ready to support you on your export journeys. Our staff, based in office locations across the globe, are here to help you improve your trade performance, enhance your operations, and optimise your customs management. Along with our operational services, we also provide software solutions, consultancy, and training, to enhance your integrated supply chain.
Ready to reap the benefits of integrating customs services into your supply chain?
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