Brexit On The Horizon

9 December, 2020
Allan Peart

2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year for the Hospitality and Leisure industry with a global pandemic ruling headlines and conversations for the last 9 months. Now it seems however that Brexit is re-emerging as a hot topic of conversations as it moves to the forefront of business worries.

So what does it mean for suppliers and businesses? 

Well, in truth, nobody really knows what will happen and everybody has differing views depending on where you look. The only thing we do know for certain that businesses have been doing their best to plan for a number of possible scenarios, keeping in mind their customer at all times.

One of the key challenges being touted is potential delays at the boarder for road freight from Europe alongside the additional paperwork that will be required to clear any incoming goods. Currently road freight from Europe, unless a customs reason prevents, is not stopped or checked when passing through the boarders into England ensuring that stock is moved quickly into the country. However once Brexit is complete paperwork and potentially the contents of road freight will need to be checked before it passes across the border.

"Currently, very limited border checks are conducted on this inbound freight. If there is any meaningful increase in border checks, either by UK officers or on the return journey by France or Dutch counterparts then this is likely to cause significant delays in arrivals of products to the UK."

Richard Clements, Operations Director, Total Produce

Again, depending on who you talk to, the paperwork element is either going to be a vast task or a limited cost to businesses that can be dealt with by current inhouse administrators. However some businesses are erring on the side of caution and have enlisted the help of ‘clearing houses’ who specialise in the import of good paperwork.

One could argue that if the goods were okay to pass across the border before Brexit why would they not be okay after we’ve left the EU? If that logical thinking is applied to the supply chain then the chances could be that we see very little change or delays on incoming goods through previous suppliers.

All we know for certain is that if there are delays at the border, additional time will need to be added to the supply chain overall which unfortunately will in turn add to costs for the end user and we are already seeing queues in the build up.

Speaking to our suppliers their longer term forecast is that the challenges presented in the immediate future will over time ease with the whole process becoming much smoother and less disruptive. The key takeaway here is to provide your suppliers with as much notice as possible in terms of requirements so they can plan as far ahead as possible in order to see all their customers through the transition process.

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