Since the UK Government announced departure from the European Union in January 2020, Brexit shipping container exports has been a tricky area to navigate.
Blocked supply chains, driver shortages, increased freight rates, and a post lockdown increase in consumer demand are just a few challenges exporting businesses face. Some British importers are also reporting up to a 600% increase in the cost of moving a standard 40ft container.
Add the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic into the mix, changing international trade rules and increasing focus on climate change. It’s no wonder that over the last year, global shipping has been taking a big hit.
Though this year has seen record numbers of container ships, analysis by the Financial Times suggests that the reduction in shipping container capacity has a disproportionate impact in the UK.
The report reveals that rates for UK exporters have increased, yet the gap between shipping lines’ most favoured customers has also widened.
It says: “The gulf between the cheapest and most expensive rates in both the UK and the northern European Union means that big companies favoured by the lines will almost certainly be paying less to ship goods from China than to smaller rivals.
This analysis is mirrored by data from Logistics UK, whose report observes that the cost of importing shipping containers into the UK from China has risen by up to 800%.
The impact? There are currently orders for over 3.2 million 20-feet containers – the equivalent of 20% of the global fleet – but these will not arrive for some time yet.
Short term, your business may be experiencing significant delays, budget cuts and issues with the storage of stock produced, ordered but unable to ship.
In the long term, new trade agreements could likely lead to more favourable shipping environments both within the EU and globally. It’s a waiting game many don’t have the time, or money, to deal with.
Where appropriate, some exporting businesses are looking for alternative options for storing surplus stock and revaluating their business model to explore the UK market as a viable option to diversify income.
Either way, a reduction in storage fees in the UK is an immediate priority to ensure your business can navigate the increasing cost at border control and customs.
Indeed, some exporting businesses are taking the challenge to the next level and expanding to create capacity for global eCommerce – switching shipping containers to warehouse distribution centres.
If you are new to global shipping or would like some support understanding the ever-changing rules and regulations, we recommend working with an expert who can guide you through it.
There are much international trade and global logistics experts who specialise in customs clearance and can help you to streamline your shipping and customs processes.
You may also consider exploring shipping container storage as you reshuffle your internal processes and manage surplus stock.