There was a lot of uncertainty over the last few months in relation to Brexit. Would there be a deal with Europe or not? Thankfully there is a deal however it will still take a good few months for a smooth transition to happen. Although there are no tariffs there is a considerable increase in the customs documentation on entry into the UK via the ports.
We have tried to ensure we have covered all eventualities no matter how difficult circumstances may become and some of the issues we have already planned for.
The Freight forwarders we partner for shipping are AEO approved. This is an important approval required by the HMRC that ensures these freight forwarders are recognised and compliant with all the new customs regulations. During the past months, we have had to demonstrate and work with all our European Partner Suppliers to ensure that they understand and will be in a position to comply correctly in relation to the customs and excise requirements on the shipping documentation.
From information in the market, there was an expectation of very long delays at the ports for the first number of months. This has not materialised at this time however with this in mind we increased our stock levels in December to try and cover any supply issues for the first quarter in 2021. As you can imagine this was a very difficult task and expensive investment in our customer and service strategy.
To minimise any impact on supply, we have suggested to our Key Customers to take additional stock in January and to also place forward orders for the coming months. This will assist us in trying to ensure we can provide a constant availability of products for the first quarter in 2021.
ATC Purchasing & Logistics Team