Sheffield exporters 'pulling their hair out' over Brexit delays and costs

Exporters and importers are ‘pulling their hair out’ over new delays, extra documents and soaring costs caused by Brexit, a South Yorkshire customs broker has said.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:30 pm

One lorry carrying wood flooring was held in France for three days over a phyto-sanitary certificate, a delay which cost £900, according to Steve White of Metoni Logistics, in Dinnington.

A similar consignment a week later was delayed by 36 hours in Dover because French Customs were swamped.

A campervan conversion company which does the fit-out work in Poland now has to fill out forms for every one of the 100 items used in a job - and repeat the process on the return, when they are attached to the vehicle.

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Steve White, managing director of Metoni Logistics in Dinnington.

Meanwhile, Brexit stockpiling before Christmas has led to a lack of empty containers in China – and the cost of shipping one to the UK soaring ten-fold from £1,600 to £16,000. The increase has seen Sheffield companies cancel import orders.

Mr White said since January 1, when the Brexit deal came into force, demand for their services had ‘exploded’.

He added: “Some firms are coping relatively well but others are pulling their hair out, their vans are on hold and it’s a nightmare.

“I think there are a lot of teething troubles. But the paperwork and procedures are here to stay. And the extra costs are likely to be passed on to the consumer. There may also be shortages.

Steve White, Lauren Widdowson, Katie Widdowson, Nik White and Brad White of Metoni Logistics.

"So far, I’m unaware of any advantages.”

The Brexit deal has caused chaos at UK ports and angry protests - from seafood producers to small online traders hit with huge fees. Covid tests for lorry drivers are also adding to delays.

Carriers including UK-based DPD and DB Schenker in Germany have halted cross border deliveries due to the problems.

Mr White said it was only a ‘free trade deal’ for products originating in the UK or EU. Imports from China to the UK and then sent to the EU attract duty, he added.

Brad White, Katie Widdowson and Nik White in the office at Metoni.

Metoni also delivers for ecommerce firms, which have boomed in the pandemic. The firm has taken a second warehouse triple the size of its first. It has expanded from three to nine staff in the last year.

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