It’s taken more than the luck of the Irish to negotiate a clear trade passage between the UK and the island of Ireland post-Brexit, but a Hertfordshire-based logistics company has set a course for restriction-free shipments, thanks to partnership working on both sides of the Irish Sea.
“It’s been a hard slog since January, but thanks to the right partnership with our hauliers and shippers the situation has eased considerably on our daily movements into Ireland,” said Aztek Logistics’ Duncan Pannell, operations manager at the Letchworth Garden City-based firm.
The business, which is part of the Pallet-Track network, took steps throughout 2020 to remind its customers of changes to customs protocols post January 1, but still faced major challenges.
The complexity of the situation thwarted a seamless transition in the wake of the existential Irish border question and special protocols – an issue freighted with economic, security and political uncertainty.
However, the business doubled down on its efforts to assist customers by publishing a Brexit administrative essentials checklist on its website to ensure they have the correct documentation to replace what would have been a simple delivery note.
Aztek also created a visual guide to display specific information on subjects including EORI notes, commodity codes, declarations, commercial invoicing, packing lists, certificates and licences and tariffs.
“None of this material was obvious to businesses looking on the GOV.UK website, so we created a visual step-by-step representation of what was needed to help struggling companies – some had simply stopped shipments under their own steam until it was sorted out, with one courier company complaining that more than 70 per cent of parcels were accompanied with the incorrect paperwork,” said Duncan.
Apart from new complex customs arrangements published by the UK government, businesses dealing with Irish customers now also need to ensure shipments only travel on heat-treated pallets, another new post-Brexit arrangement, as the UK falls outside of an EU-wide exemption to this rule.
The business is also investing additional customs clearance training for its staff and engaging apprentices to take on this role.
Stuart Charter, managing director of Aztek Logistics, added: “Brexit has been an ongoing concern to our customers who are simply looking for clarity and closure after months and years of rancour and disagreement.
“We want to represent the common sense voice of reason that demystifies the issues and allows businesses to operate on both sides of the Irish Sea fully aware of what they need to do to meet the requirements of the protocols.”