If you trade with the EU and Brexit planning wasn’t at the top of your business agenda before December’s General Election, the chances are it is now.
The change in the Parliamentary arithmetic makes Britain’s exit from the EU all but certain and, with opinion split over the UK Government’s chances of securing a trade deal before the end of 2020 that will avoid the need to adopt WTO terms, it is essential that businesses take all possible steps to mitigate the effects of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU on their day-to-day activities.
Regardless of whether a ‘no deal’ Brexit is dodged or not, it seems inevitable that, initially at least, some increase in customs administration will lead to delays at the ports that will impact upon supply chains.
Companies can seek to mitigate against this kind of disruption by adopting a dual storage solution that splits inventory between the UK and mainland Europe.
Last year, Walker Logistics announced that it had entered a partnership agreement with German-owned Limal GmbH - an international sales and fulfillment services provider based some 40 miles north of Hamburg.
The deal allows Walker to offer its clients the opportunity to hold stock at Limal’s storage facilities, utilise their in-house sales platforms and fulfill orders bound for mainland Europe from these sites. In a reciprocal arrangement, it also means that Limal’s client base will be able to use our 250,000 sq ft multi-user storage facilities as the hub from where goods for the UK market can be stored and dispatched.
And Walker are currently in negotiations with other European fulfillment specialists that will allow us to increase our capacity to provide Europe-wide supply chain services in the post-Brexit environment.
Of course, Brexit is forcing companies that export in to the UK to rethink their supply chain strategies too. Indeed, we are noticing a trend – particularly among American-owned companies – to appoint UK-based fulfillment specialists to manage the storage and delivery of orders for the British market. Previously these companies have located their European inventory in a facility in, for instance, Holland, but Brexit concerns have prompted them to seek dedicated UK-based supply chain support and Walker has successfully managed a number of these migrations in recent months.
As the new Government strives to ‘get Brexit done’ it seems likely that the confusion surrounding the movement of goods between the UK and Europe after Brexit will be with us for some time yet and talk of blockages and delays at UK entry points isn’t likely to go away.
As a result, arrangements such as the one between Walker and Limal could prove immensely helpful to those companies seeking a flexible solution to potential supply chain issues that may be looming for goods moving between the UK and Europe.