February/March 2021

Brexit 2021 – reality and moving forward

Steve Swinburn, General Manager of Harbour International Freight based in Manchester, looks at more issues brought to light in the aftermath of Brexit. “The Government have spent many millions on various TV ads, Radio ads, and Motorway Matrix signs advising UK Business to get ready for change. What it has not mentioned is it has been hard to prepare and adapt for the unknown. Whilst preparing my own customers and clients for the unknown has been challenging and at times quite fraught, it has shown that the government have been out of touch with UK plc and the realities and complexity of International Trade, and how the UK supply chain and industry has changed, adapted, and embraced global outsourcing and manufacturing.

“The ‘Freetrade’ deal in place with the European Union has the potential to decimate companies over something that was hidden and glossed over in the small print. The Zero Customs Tariff & Duties only relates to goods that are of UK or EU origin.

Steve Swinburn, Harbour International Freight

“An important point here is that Origin, for customs purposes, means the country of manufacture, not the country from where it is being shipped. If you bear in mind the UK is a nett importer of finished and manufactured goods from all parts of the globe, all these goods are instantly charged VAT and Duty if they are sent from the UK to anywhere in Europe and therein is the problem, these are conversationsI am personally having daily. Mid-January we have customers frantically trying to absorb major changes which the government landed on their desks in between Christmas and New Year – and also moving into a nationwide lockdown. At Harbour we have spent the last few weeks and months guiding and advising, explaining the rules for shipping to Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the European mainland in a clear, concise and thorough manner. We do feel when we listen to current feedback from customers old and new that we have provided an invaluable source for navigating the current issues. However, the Government should have listened to the wheels of industry and embraced their views so that we could have avoided any issues that we now have. 

“It will get better; business can adapt, but we all need to work together to keep the exporting routes into and out of Europe open and easily accessible.”

For further information contact Steve Swinburn on 0161 872 6875   hello@harbourfreight.co.uk