Shipments from UK to EU take twice as long in wake of Brexit, says logistics firm

Post-Brexit exports from the UK to EU countries now take 112 per cent longer on average, according to new research.

On average, shipments from the UK to the EU were taking four days in December, but from January that’s risen to eight. Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.

Shipping company Forward2me has looked at the difference in shipping times between December 2020 and January 2021 – and found that the average for all EU countries jumped to 8.55 days from 4.03, with the highest individual increase coming in at 950 per cent.

The parcel-forwarding service, which ships to more than 200 countries, cited various factors contributing to the overall increase, such as DPD stopping its UK-to-EU courier service, increased customs checks, and more paperwork to fill out.

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The news comes as shipping finds itself in the spotlight, with the Suez Canal – one of the world's most crucial arteries for trade – being blocked for several days by the Ever Given container ship.

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Forward2me said the country to see the biggest increase in delivery time was Serbia, with a 950 per cent jump to 21 days from two, followed in second place by Bulgaria, which saw a jump of nearly 400 per cent to 19 days.

The shipping firm also singled out Germany which it said it is one of its most popular shipping destinations from the UK, and has seen door-to-door transit times as low as 2.86 days as recently as November but increasing to 10.46 days in January, a “staggering” 186 per cent increase.

It added: “Countries, businesses, couriers and individuals are all working together to make these delays shorten. In some instances, delays are simply down to teething issues, while people get used to filling in the paperwork they previously didn’t have to, and that should hopefully be something that irons itself out.”

The firm also said some countries outside the EU have actually seen an improvement in shipping times, adding: "Items have been delayed or incurred charges people didn’t previously expect, but the picture outside of the EU has generally been positive.” Greenland and Luxembourg saw the biggest drop, down by two thirds to just one day.

Furthermore, non-EU deliveries were 16.6 per cent faster on average in January than in December, falling to 4.18 days. “This [improvement] includes shipments to countries like Norway and Switzerland, both of which are in Europe but, like the UK, aren’t members of the EU. This is good news and will hopefully set a precedent for UK parcel forwarding to Europe and other non-EU countries around the world.”

The logistics specialist also highlighted that it is opening facilities in both Germany and Poland to speed up its European parcel-forwarding service. “This will allow people to forward packages within the EU or externally with relative ease.”

Scottish companies to have opened warehouse facilities in the EU due to Brexit include hosiery firm Snag Tights. The business in November announced the opening of the site in the Netherlands amid “little clarity” on UK e-commerce retailers’ future relationship with Europe, and to safeguard the firm’s future.

Snag switched all non-UK orders to the new warehouse in Venlo, which tripled its distribution capacity.

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