A report by ParcelHero has found that new trade barriers as a result of the Brexit deal could cost e-commerce importers in the UK more than £5 billion a year.
Since 1st January 2021, extra red tape at customs has caused delays, higher costs and an uptick in undelivered items for those importing from the EU, and a reduced number of deliveries between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
35% of retailers reported “major problems” importing from the EU, while 38% of companies shipping between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain reported reduced volume.
The EU and the UK agreed that Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the EU single market for a grace period that would allow for reduced border controls. This period was due to expire on 1st April.
The UK has now unilaterally extended the grace period until October and faces potential legal action from the EU for breaching the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Customs issues have resulted from new documentation requirements including “proof of origin” for all UK-EU shipments, with taxes levied on all items manufactured outside of the UK or the EU, and VAT on UK imports for goods valued above £135.
The report also found growing stockpiles of return items that many shippers found cheaper to write off rather than retrieve.
ParcelHero’s figure of £5.25 billion derives from a predicted 35% drop in e-commerce imports due to difficulties faced.
Source: The Independent