UK ports well prepared for Brexit storm

“British ports will face huge challenges post-Brexit – but they’re more than prepared… they’re optimistic!”

Despite the recent extension on the UK’s exit date from the EU, and the announcement of a December general election, Brexit is still just around the corner. Deal or no deal, the UK’s ports, as our country’s gateways to trade, will be on the front line. It’s very good news, then, that authorities say ports are well prepared. And, more than that, they’re even positive over the long-term!

According to Samantha Woskett, head of customer relations and logistics at Shoreham Port, Brexit is already affecting the timber marketplace. She told reporters: “Timber volumes overall have remained steady, but we’ve seen unusual buying patterns, unseasonal peaks and downturns, which are a likely effect of unknown Brexit outcomes and price falls within the timber market.”

This, she says, is just the beginning – but Shoreham is well prepared: “We have a Brexit team prepped and ready for any outcome. We’re offering customers in-house customs clearance service for all imports via independently appointed customs agents. We anticipate smooth, efficient turnaround for clearance, with vessels to be cleared via one source.”

Other ports share Ms. Woskett’s sentiment, with an emphasis being placed on knowledge. Peel Port’s business development manager, Jason Mayer, says that it will “follow instructions from the Port Authorities, Border Force, HMRC, and the Forestry Commission” to ensure it lives up to its obligations. Contingency plans include additional examination areas to minimise potential delays for importers. A third port, Forth Ports, says it has invested heavily in IT systems to help customers navigate a post-Brexit timber trade.

This level of preparedness will undoubtedly have a positive impact on port operations going forward. Mayer says “we’re confident we can achieve ongoing sustained growth.” Woskett agrees, saying “we continue to analyse and evaluate procedures with customers to ensure effective, diverse timber handling, storage and forwarding requirements.”

This is great news for everyone in the timber trade, as it guarantees that our products will continue to be available in a post-Brexit world. And that means that you can rest assured – Quercus will always be able to help you source your ideal timber!