For ferries operating from Europe to the United Kingdom, the first few days of January were peaceful: it was the people who shipped fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants who used these sea connections.
Victor Vigferberg of Freight Line Europe (FLE), a Dutch refrigerated transport company, is confident their establishment will bear fruit in the coming weeks. “From a volume standpoint, we are still in the low season. This gives us and our customers time to adapt to the new ordering process. We also need to get used to exchanging data in digital format.”
In preparation for Brexit, FLE and Dutch logistics company CSI Fresh joined forces. They have developed a platform that connects FLE to their broker in the UK, allowing for a fast exchange of information. “Our clients enter their upload requests via our web portal or via an XML link. Then they are digitally sent to CSI Fresh, which takes care of the export documents. In addition, they also notify the British partner to prepare the shipping data. Import, which is the fastest way to complete All customs procedures. “
For years, many clients have also submitted their orders in digital format. “We are not very familiar with digital orders, but this new platform allows us to continue providing our customers with the same service they were used to before January 1, 2021. We can still receive orders in the morning and have them delivered the same evening in the UK. But we have to organize everything. Very well. However, we are very happy to see that the investments we have made in automation, the time and energy that we put into preparation, are paying off, “says Victor.
Vigferberg says Brexit hasn’t had a major impact on his company so far. “The UK and the European Union reached an agreement shortly before the deadline. On Saturday 2 January we had to face some unexpected official changes. But we resolved them immediately, and we were able to continue operations without chaos at the ports.”
It is difficult to predict the level of congestion and delays that may occur at the ports and the Eurotunnel in the coming weeks. The additional stocks shipped to the UK in December will slowly run out. The volumes of fruits and vegetables will also increase in the coming months. Therefore, the flow between the UK and the EU will increase rapidly. We have identified requirements and exceeded them in a timely manner. The challenges posed by the addition of units and inspections. We are now in the process of improving these processes, “concludes Victor.