German logistics group DB Schenker on Wednesday became the last major parcel operator to suspend cross-border delivery services due to new administrative and customs formalities imposed by Brexit.
In a note to customers, the company said it was suspending EU shipments to the UK, blaming the ‘huge bureaucratic regulations’ created by post-Brexit trade deals that had left recipients in the UK. Uni unable to handle shipments in a “way.
The company added that the postponement would continue “until further notice” while mobilizing more staff to help complete the paperwork properly.
A spokesperson for the company in Berlin said there was no immediate clarity on when services would restart, adding that only 10% of shipments were accompanied by the proper documents.
Last week another major international delivery company, DPD, suspended deliveries from the UK to the EU, claiming that up to 20% of packages contained incorrect information.
In a statement, DPD blamed the “challenges” of the government’s new computerized transit system (NCTS) since January 1, when the post-Brexit EU-UK trade deal entered into force. The company said it would review the situation on Friday.
The suspensions came when it emerged that the UK government was offering to speed up the empty supermarket food trucks returning to Europe for restocking, as concerns mount in Whitehall that post-Brexit port disruption threatens supermarket supply shortages.
A consultation paper sent to the industry by Defra, the UK Department of Agriculture, warned Tuesday evening that “the potential for disturbance remains high ”and proposed the new expedited return system for supermarket carriers using the Short Straits Passage.
“Given the potential for border delays to impact supply chains in the coming weeks, we are proposing an emergency emergency measure. . . to speed up the return of empty food trucks from the UK to the EU where they can be restocked, ”said the 18-page consultation marked“ official sensitive ”and seen by the FT.
The scheme, if passed, provides for allowing up to 300 trucks a day to avoid queues outside the Channel ports of Dover and Folkestone and would only be open to larger supermarkets and their subcontractors.
This is part of the government’s broader plans to prepare for the post-Brexit border disruption, which has yet to materialize.
Although pre-Christmas storage has reduced pressure on ports, traffic levels are expected to return to normal soon.
French customs officials announced this week that they were planning full flows “within about 10 days” and warned that they would be “particularly vigilant” in the coming weeks on the application of border formalities.
The consultation document warns that the Dover-Calais route is “critical” for the UK food supply, with around 10 percent of food consumed in the UK crossing the Channel. In winter, around 75% of fresh fruits and vegetables are shipped this way, according to the British Retail Consortium, a trade body.
Under the proposal, trucks that could show they worked for a large supermarket or supplier and planned to return to the UK within seven days would be granted a priority permit to bypass trucks stacked on the M20 as part of the Operation Brock.
The new plan would only be triggered when wait times outside Dover hit eight hours or more and loads delivered to UK supermarkets fell below 75% of expectations for two consecutive days.
Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, welcomed the idea in principle, but said, “The devil is really in the details and in the administration of the system.”
But another industry insider who asked not to be named said ministers underestimated the complexity of supply chains and the roles played by secondary contractors.
“It’s just embarrassing and won’t work. Another instinctive ploy, ”the person said.
Confirming the plan to accelerate empty supermarket trucks, a Defra spokesperson said the UK food supply chain was’ very resilient ‘but was planning the program as part of’ measures emergency”.