Latest UKWA survey chimes with National Audit Office report findings
The report by the National Audit Office, ‘The UK border: preparedness for the end of the transition period’, which was published today, chimes with findings of the latest survey of members conducted by the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) last week, says UKWA CEO Peter Ward, with 88% of respondents stating that they do not believe their customers are prepared for the impact of UK’s transition from the EU on January 1st 2021.
While 78% of UKWA members said that they were aware of the Border Operating Model, only 40% felt that they were prepared.
“The intermediaries – namely those operating in the logistics industry – have been kept well informed and in many cases have helped shape the Border Operating Model via their Trade Associations,” Peter Ward said. “However, traders themselves have not received clear or detailed communication from the government on what to prepare for or how to prepare for it.”
He added that a combination of factors, including the COVID pandemic, had distracted businesses from focussing on combatting the inevitable supply chain disruption caused by some 200 million additional customs declarations being required after January 1st.
“A degree of apathy has settled in after three Brexit ‘deadlines’ have come and gone, with companies stockpiling each time in preparation for supply chain interruption at some considerable cost,” Peter said. “There is also a widespread sense, fed by the national media, that all will be ‘alright on the night’ if we can just secure a Free Trade Agreement. Our message is – and has been for some time – that deal or no deal, traders in the UK will be in a new operating environment from January 1st regardless. We will be out of the Customs Union and therefore the government’s agreed future Brexit Border Operating Model will be in place, along with new procedures and new IT systems, many of which remain untested. What it will not be, even if we secure a Free Trade Agreement, is ‘business as usual’.”
Warehouse capacity running at sub 3%
The other key finding of UKWA’s member survey is there is less than 3% available warehouse capacity nationwide.
This equates to approximately 360,000 pallets, which is insufficient as this aggregate is composed of small ‘lot’ sizes of 100-200 across some 3000 locations nationwide.
With flows continuing into UK from the Far Eastand elsewhere, whilst non-essential retail outlets are closed again under the new COVID restrictions, UKWA believes the situation will quickly become critical.
“UKWA warned of an impending crisis of warehousing shortages earlier in the year, but this was mitigated as the economy opened up again,” Peter Ward commented. “However, now we are into peak season and the pressures on space have increased.
As far as Brexit is concerned, we anticipate a small increase in availability of around 1% post peak, with a paltry 120,000 becoming pallets available going into January.”
Peter concludes, “UKWA, along with our peer Trade Associations, have continued to engage with the government, providing feedback from the ‘coal face’ and disseminating vital information to members. We have also been vocal in warning of the unpreparedness of businesses for the transition from the EU. Whilst we welcome the recognition of these challenges, as outlined in the National Audit Office report, awareness of the threat of unpreparedness has come somewhat late in the day.”
The UKWA survey confirmed that 25% of UKWA members consider Brexit (the end of transition period) the biggest risk going into 2021, with concern for customers’ survival beyond the twin threats of COVID and Brexit cited by 34%.
Pictured: UKWA CEO Peter Ward
Note for editors:
UK Warehousing Association
The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) is Britain’s leading trade organisation representing the warehousing and third-party logistics (3PL) sector. The association’s 800+ member companies operate some 12 million square metres of warehousing from around 2000 depots across the UK. For more details visit www.ukwa.org.uk or contact email@example.com
International logistics and transportation specialist Dimerco has continued to provide uninterrupted services to its customers despite flight cancellations, gateway lockdowns and customs closures in some countries due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a spokesperson for the company, Dimerco has provided regular real-time status updates to customers and strategic partners on flight cancellations and major gateway capacity/rate changes within its service network, as well as implementing contingency plans such as customized charter flight and alternative multimodal transport solutions, particularly in shipping anti-epidemic cargo such as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Since March this year, Dimerco has handled a number of air charter projects on behalf of customers, moving freight from major cities in China and Singapore to destinations across the world, including the US, Australia and the UK. Similarly, multimodal transport solutions have been used successfully to transport goods from China, South Korea and Japan to Taipei, Hong Kong and further afield – Australia, Poland and Germany, via sea, air, truck and train.
Dimerco believes that its professional corporate culture and market leading technology, as well as its extensive, flexible service portfolio have helped it maintain a ‘business as usual’ service for customers through the crisis.
“Our Business Intelligence Technology (BIT) provides exceptional visibility and enables us to access information in real time from any location that has internet connection, so that our operations run as smoothly as possible while many of our employees are working from home with seamless communication via instant messaging and online conferences, while business travel overseas of all worldwide colleagues have been temporarily banned ever since Jan. 28, 2020 in light of our preventative measure taken towards the early outbreak of COVID-19.” the spokesperson explained. “In addition, our Purchase Order Management System (POMS) co-ordinates information from all parties, so that at a time when manufacturing capacity is uncertain, we can respond to process requirements such as split/merge or cancellation/transfer as well as consolidating purchase orders from multiple suppliers. 24 hr monitoring, with exception alerts and reminders have also proved particularly valuable in helping us identify and respond proactively to any irregularities, that arise in the supply chain using Dimerco’s Collaboration Service Platform (CSP).”
“Our success is built on our people, our customers and our strategic alliances with major airlines and ocean carriers; during the COVID-19 pandemic, that commitment has stood us in excellent stead,” said the Dimerco spokesperson. “Our people have continued to work diligently and professionally as a team, our partners have supported us in providing flexible solutions to circumvent the difficulties of lockdown, and our customers have continued to enjoy the same high quality service that they have come to expect from Dimerco.”
As China-US trade tensions continue to rise, Taiwan-based transportation and freight forwarding specialist Dimerco has supported its customer―a world leader in mechanical steel for renewable energy solutions―in establishing a new manufacturing base in Malaysia, enabling their customer to import equipment, raw materials and produce finished goods for export directly to the United States.
Dimerco planned and managed the entire 6-day logistics process to ship the first 122 steel coils weighing over 3,000 metric tons from port to warehouse, including storage, sample cutting, re-wrapping and packing, as well as handling customs clearance and distribution to the consignee. Since the first shipment in March this year, Dimerco has now shipped approaching 10,000 metric tons of steel coils, with more scheduled. Based on this successful project, Dimerco secured a further contract with this customer for a different product in a second newly built factory last month, in May 2019.
According to a spokesperson from Dimerco, the company previously shipped heavy production equipment for the customer from Suzhou in China to Malaysia. And, in the light of the China-US tariff stand-off, the customer has decided to not only build a new factory in Malaysia but also ship raw material from South Korea/Taiwan to Malaysia via ocean freight, with Dimerco handling all operations from the destination port. “Our experience and deep market knowledge in this region enabled us to provide a comprehensive and seamless service to our customer who is operating in an unfamiliar market to them,” the spokesperson said. “We transferred the cargo to a warehouse in the Free Zone Authority and worked through the night to achieve a rapid transit time, as well as liaising with trusted partners on utilizing specialist equipment required to handle the heavy freight and dispatching local transportation with low-bed trailers.”
In order to achieve smooth customs clearance, Dimerco’s dedicated team also arranged sample cutting for SIRIM (Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia) Inspection, arranging for a subcontractor to slight 3 baby coils from the 25 tons mother coil and ensuring each coil was labelled accurately on arrival at port, before inspection.
“This project has allowed us to demonstrate our breadth of services and our commitment to teamwork,” Dimerco’s spokesperson concluded. “We were able to advise our customer on the specific requirements of coil import and transfer in Malaysia, particularly with regards to warehousing, inspection and customs clearance. In addition, we provided onsite monitoring and 24 hour live updates to our customers, as well as delivering basic training on the FZA regulations and SIRIM inspection. Dimerco is delighted that our expert heavy freight handling services have been recognized with a further contract in Malaysia from our valued customer.”
Photo Caption: Dimerco coordinated to load on low-bed trailer (left) and Sample Cutting for SIRIM Inspection (right).