Managing Director of fast-growing, privately-owned freight forwarder Europa Worldwide Group, Andrew Baxter, has reacted to an official study which offers a template for future UK-EU border relationships post Brexit – summarising the report as ‘sensible and positive progress’ towards a workable solution.
Andrew, who was a firm supporter of Brexit, sees the study written by the former Director of the World Customs Organization Lars Karlsson and commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs as a ‘step in the right direction’ and ‘wholly useful’ in Government’s decision-making process about how to operate the UK’s borders after it leaves the EU.
He said: “The study looks at cross-border movement and trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland but all principles and recommendations within it can be projected on to the wider picture for the UK post Brexit.
“In essence, it puts forward a proposal for what is known elsewhere in the world as a ‘Smart Border’ where customs and other border practices keep the border open, such as release before clearance, deferred duty payments and clearance away from the border.
“For example, it suggests a process where hauliers make a submission to customs before their truck arrives at the border and by the time it arrives, the driver gets a text message saying whether they are free to proceed or not. In 99.9 per cent of cases the driver would be free to go. This would involve entering a simplified entry before crossing the border and then a post-import supplementary declaration would be carried out retrospectively. This two-step process would hugely smooth the flow of goods, versus current customs processes.
“I believe trusted trader solutions which embrace technology and simplicity, such as automatic number plate recognition, enhanced driver licenses, barcode scanning and smartphone apps, are the way forward.
“There has been a real lack of clarity to date upon what customs requirements will be post Brexit. And whilst this is only a report, I think that it is comforting to know that the EU’s own investigation into how to handle these matters in future has come up with these conclusions. The UK authorities have stated over and again that they would like to see as frictionless a border as possible, so I find it hard to imagine that these conclusions would be opposed in Whitehall.
“Whilst this matter is far from concluded, it appears that we are heading in a sensible direction, and I am optimistic that we will get a sensible and efficient customs solution post Brexit.”
Europa’s Northampton warehouse seals deal with Templine
Europa Worldwide Group has exclusively appointed recruitment agency Templine, which is soon to be rebranded to Siamo Group, to recruit temporary staff for its Northampton warehouse.
Europa, which operates as four separate companies (Europa Warehouse, Europa Road, Europa Showfreight and Europa Air & Sea) has an 85,000 sq ft warehouse at Grange Park in Northampton, which currently specialises in logistics for the drinks sector.
Warehouse Manager at Europa’s Northampton warehouse Chris Kirby said the business’s new and exclusive relationship with Templine in the Midlands had got off to a very strong and promising start.
He said: “Recruiting temporary staff is always a challenge, particularly at peak times in our calendar such as Black Friday and Christmas when we need 110 temporary staff per day. We recently went out to tender for our recruitment provider in Northampton and we felt Templine was the provider which best fitted with our Europa ethos and ethics and could meet our demanding targets.
“Templine take a fresh approach to recruitment and have a strong presence in Northampton, as they are experienced in dealing with larger volumes of employees and working with the many warehouse operators in the region. What appealed to us most was Templine’s innovative approach which involves encouraging labour-sharing between their client pool. In a market as tight as ours, this is a sensible and functional solution.”
Kirby, who has worked for Europa for 11 years - joining the business as a Warehouse Operative and rising through the ranks to Manager - added that 2018 is set to be a very exciting year for Europa Warehouse, supported by Templine’s dedicated, on-site Account Manager who works full time on the Northampton site.
He said: “We value having our own dedicated Account Manager who is fully embedded within our business – they are on site every day and really get to know our challenges, strengths and values.
“At Europa we pride ourselves on being an excellent place to work, with great staff benefits. For example, we pay more than the living wage to our warehouse staff and we offer shift allowances for unsociable hours.
“We also invest heavily in training our staff and developing them to suit their personal goals and aspirations. Having our Templine Account Manager on site means they know the exact type of person we want to recruit and they can really sell the benefits of working for us to potential candidates.”
Europa Warehouse in Northampton currently employs 60 staff, from Warehouse Operatives to Forklift Drivers and Machine Operators. In peak, this number increases by up to 110 staff per day. The business also operates warehouses in Dartford and Birmingham.
Tony Bucciero, CEO of Templine, said: “We are delighted to be on board with Europa. We have extensive experience with providing staff in this industry and the demanding targets the sector requires. Working with Europa will be a meeting of minds. Our businesses align well, with a shared vision for training, effective and efficient selection of staff and a sense of duty to reward and invest in those that work hard. We work hard to invest in the businesses we resource for, positioning ourselves onsite and within. We ensure we get to know the ethos of each business and what values are important to them, and this is exactly how we will work with Europa throughout our partnership.”
Europa Worldwide Group employs 650 people across 12 sites in the UK plus Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries. Europa also provides specialist air & sea, road and showfreight services alongside its warehouse operations.
Egg-citing Easter Campaign
Europa Worldwide Group, is celebrating the success of its MBX (Money Back Express) service in the lead up to Easter, by gifting its customers with specially branded Easter eggs.
The business launched its MBX service in August last year and has seen excellent take up from customers, with bookings on the service increasing by 57% (2018 vs 2017). The pioneering service offers new and existing customers the opportunity to benefit from a full refund of freight charges if Europa fails to deliver to the customer’s defined and agreed transit time.
Since MBX launched, Europa has seen 1 per cent of its export consignments move on the new service and this figure is rising weekly.
To celebrate this success, the teams from Europa’s 11 branches across the UK will be delivering specially branded ‘MBX-ggs’ to its road customers this week and next. Branch and Account Managers will hand deliver the Easter eggs to customers they are visiting over the next fortnight to further promote the service and thank those who have already used it for their freight bookings.
Dionne Redpath, Sales Director at Europa, said: “At Europa we like to treat our lovely customers and we couldn’t resist the chance to give them some chocolatey branded treats this Easter!
“Our Road division has seen continued expansion and investment in the last four years which in turn is seeing the business run at a 30 per cent consignment growth across the board. MBX further expands our suite of products for customers and is the next step in our success story. As our consignment numbers grow, our MBX consignments continue to grow in line with that upward trend.
“MBX provides real peace of mind to our customers where timings are exacting and the consequences of failure are significant. We’re thrilled with the popularity of this ambitious and bold new product and look forward to spreading the word about it further this Easter with our MBX-ggs.”