Date: 23.02.2022

Post-Brexit changes and demand driving up customs brokerage costs

New post-Brexit customs rules mean extra processes around declaring goods, which is increasing demand for scarce brokerage resources and pushing up the price of imports to the UK.

Despite the UK government investing over £700 million in border infrastructure and additional technology to monitor trade, importers are facing billions of pounds worth of additional costs after the Brexit transition period ended in January, with an additional 400 million annual import and export customs declarations, since leaving the customs union and single market.

The Public Accounts Committee says it is clear that EU exit and new border arrangements have increased costs, paperwork and border delays for UK importers.

In the run up to Brexit and the eventual ending of the transition period Metro invested significantly in system development, of our automated ‘CuDoS’ (Customs Documentation Services) customs solution and the building of a dedicated Brokerage team, that has supported our customers, in adjusting to the new European trading relationship.

In 2021 our brokerage team achieved significant milestones including:
  • 74% of workflow automated
  • 20,000 export declarations
  • 8,000 Transit accompanying documents
  • 26,000 import declarations
  • 99% analog to digital accuracy
  • 8 minutes = record declaration turnaround
  • 85% of clearances turned around in under 2 hours

Systems and CuDoS development continued through 2021, in readiness for the post-Brexit requirements that came into effect from 1st January 2022, with continuing research and development for the new HMRC operating system, CDS, which is now due to arrive in the 3rd quarter of this year for imports and March 2023 for exports.

Despite our groundwork and preparation for the significant changes on the 1st January, the demand for support from existing and new customers far exceeded all our expectations and workforce cost increases are outstripping inflation due to the salary increases that are necessary to retain skilled staff in a very competitive market. 

In addition to significant salary increases, we have also invested in our brokerage capability, by further increasing the size of our dedicated team, to meet current demand and support customers’ ongoing growth.

The launch of the GVMS service by HMRC has resulted in a significant surge in communication requests with the brokerage department, to support clients’ hauliers and has been a recognisable additional drain on the operational team.

While our team’s workload and process requirements have become increasingly more complex and time-consuming during 2021, we made every effort to maintain pricing stability for our customers, with any increases imposed at the end of the validity period,  reflective of the situation outlined above.

Metro continue to monitor and manage the post-Brexit situation as it develops and evolves, investing in our team and technology, to safeguard our customers and their European supply chains. We are cutting-edge with our solutions and reliability in the market.

Our tailored customs brokerage programmes are optimised and automated by our CuDoS platform, to offer productivity and scale economies.

We access the largest European haulage networks, including within our own group of companies, to provide agile and creative transport options into, out of and within Europe. 

For further information please contact Elliot Carlile to organise a full review and discussion relating to any issues that you may be facing.