A meeting of the Customs Clearance Consortium, created last year by supply chain specialists Oakland Invicta specifically to address the shortage of Customs agent capacity, attracted an international delegation from sectors including food, automotive, pharmaceutical, manufactured goods, footwear, clothing, retail products and general cargo.
Representatives from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Lithuania and Germany joined Consortium founder members for the meeting in Birmingham, with the Consortium’s appeal quickly growing as a way of steering through the customs processes due to change when the UK leaves Europe.
Oakland Invicta Commercial Director Robert Hardy commented: “We’ve spent two years talking to European logistics providers large and small, who all share the same Brexit issues and concerns. The Customs Clearance Consortium was launched specifically as a solution to address the extra customs processes created by Brexit.”
As well as leading the Consortium, Robert’s vast experience covers running the largest 24hr Customs freight station in the UK, Freight Director of P&O Ferries handling two million truck movements per year and as Commercial Director of EurotunnelPlus, with one million truck movements per year. Developing its young team of university experts who hold a BSc in Mathematics, MSc in Economics and a BSc in Travel and Tourism, training is ongoing both internally and with the UK Customs Academy, the team is already at level 4 in the Academy programme and working towards its Master of Customs Administration qualification by the summer.
Added Robert: “Our wide knowledge of the Customs processes means we’re in a unique position to bring key industry players together and we have the capacity to deal with this additional volume. We estimate we could be handling in excess of 5,000 transactions per day.
“The Consortium’s experience in this arena puts us ahead and delivers a number of advantages including capacity, reduced pricing and peace of mind, with members encouraged to work together to create transport and warehousing solutions across Europe and covers most trade sectors.
“Understanding Customs is one thing but understanding how to apply those processes on the ground is a skill. We often say, having the ingredients doesn’t make you a chef! Businesses need to be ready. Do not think that a Boris deal will mean no paperwork. It’s essential to understand ‘incoterms’ and their impact on trade and the customs processes.”
Robert Hardy is set to speak in Ireland, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic.