January cross-Channel freight was down around 30% due to fears about the new customs and other freight procedures, but volumes and knowledge of the new processes are gradually rebuilding.

Truck volumes on short strait cross-Channel services in January showed a sharp decline on the same month last year and are understood to still be well below their normal levels in the first days of February, with one effect being that the new UK-EU customs clearance and other freight procedures have yet to be fully put to the test.

Eurotunnel today released figures showing that its Freight Shuttle transported 82,484 trucks last month, a decrease of 37% compared to January 2020.

The fixed link operator said the three factors impacting a “declining” market were “the stockpiling carried out before a Brexit deal was agreed on 24 December, the adjustments to the new post-Brexit border requirements, as well as the compulsory requirement to present a negative Covid test carried out on British soil, which may discourage some drivers.”

Truck throughput last month for the Port of Calais was down by “a little less than 30%” compared with January 2020, the decline being more or less evenly spread between UK-France import and export traffic, a spokesperson for the French Channel port told Lloyd’s Loading List. But there has been a pick-up in HGV numbers so far in February, the port said.

Brittany Ferries noted that all ferry companies have reported reduced UK freight volumes in January “as a consequence of Brexit fears and stockpiling by companies”. A spokesman told Lloyd’s Loading List: “We’re currently down around 25% on UK/France compared to this time last year – however that is counterbalanced by an equivalent increase before Christmas due to stockpiling. And figures are gradually climbing back towards normal.”

However, while volumes are low, Brittany Ferries said the proportion of unaccompanied units was already much higher than in previous years.

Jason Breakwell, commercial director at Wallenborn Transports, whose core business is the European air cargo road feeder services (RFS) market, told Lloyd’s Loading List that the company’s movements from and to the UK in week 1 (of 2021) “were considerably lower than in 2020, but have picked up quickly as previous fears of delays and disruption didn’t materialise”.

He added: “It has been widely reported that overall truck movements were down last month compared with previous years and Eurotunnel and ferries do seem to have been quieter. For the full month of January, our year-on-year UK trade was slightly up, with exports performing better. Imports were lower, due to higher-than-average stock levels in the UK but volumes continue to grow.”

Improvement in shippers’ readiness

The Port of Calais spokesperson also noted “a marked improvement” in shippers’ readiness with regard to the new custom clearance regime, compared with the first part of January. “Exporters are better and better prepared,” they noted.

However, Breakwell said there was still a lack of understanding among many companies as to what is required in terms of paperwork for shipments to cross the border.

“Those of us that have been busy (on cross-Channel routes) since early January are familiar now with the customs clearance system; but volumes are steadily increasing and a good number of traders and individuals are finding out every day – for the first time – just what the new procedures demand, and many of them simply aren’t prepared.”

He added: “And expertise is in short supply. Brokers are overworked and have stopped taking on new business and transit guarantees are getting pushed to the limit. It seems the biggest challenges are those faced by exporters/importers of food, feed and other animal and plant-based products, while there are also the difficulties surrounding ‘rules of origin’.”

Stuart Stobie, group sales and marketing director at time-critical logistics specialist Priority Freight’s, painted a similar picture, underlining that the post-Brexit trade deal had “caught out many people, thinking nothing would change”, meaning that many shippers, both in the UK and the EU, were “unaware of their responsibilities, both in terms of what paperwork – and power of attorney (if they have no broker) – is required to ship the goods and their own fiscal responsibilities and costs.

Onus on carriers

“Therefore, the onus to get things right has fallen on the carriers’ shoulders – elongating the organisation process considerably. We anticipate this will shorten as importers and exporters get used to the new regulations.”

Last month, Priority Freight teamed up with charter airline company Jota Aviation to set up an ‘air bridge’ between mainland Europe and the UK – a strategic partnership to keep supply chains moving through new customs challenges and the predicted congestion at ports.”

“We have had significant demand for the use of our air bridge,” said Stobie.  “We have used a number of airports in Europe to travel to the UK, not just Ostend (Belgium), as rather than multiple small consignments it has tended to be full- or part-chartered (loads).

“The air bridge is still available and we are currently talking to a number of customers who are showing interest in it to support nightly linehaul into the UK for delivery pre-9am the following morning.

“As yet, we haven’t seen the congestion at ports that we would have expected, mainly due to the fact that there have been fewer vehicles crossing the Channel. The customs and paperwork process will only be fully tested then when volumes are back to normal.”

Priority Freight’s year-on-year, cross-Channel truck movements “are slightly up on last year”, he  added.

 

 

 

 

Source: lloyd´s

Fonte: http://brazilmodal.com.br/2015/internacional/sharp-decline-in-eu-uk-short-strait-truck-volumes/