Issue 3 2021 - Freight Business Journal


Italians are impatiently awaiting the return of the good times. But while the vaccine roll-out is not going quite as smoothly as many would hope, there are some hopeful signs, say leading players in the freight industry.

dangerous goods, if not exactly at the time customers would like.” Brexit will also aff ect volumes; in

It’s been a uniquely tough year in the freight industry, not least for companies like Ital Logistics that specialise in the Italian market. However,

it has by no means

been all doom and gloom, says managing director, Phil Denton. He says: “Looking back into the

middle of last year, despite Italy going through the mill with the pandemic, our Italian partners invested in opening a new branch in Pomezia, near Rome. This was

on top of their previous year’s €5 million investment in new facilities just outside Milan. We were hoping to capitalise on the new branch from autumn last year, but the pandemic is far from over and we need to get beyond this and the initial phases of getting to grips with Brexit customs formalities before we can fully take advantage of this.” Ital Logistics continues to handle freight of all kinds to and from

Transmec takes control aſt er Brexit

Italy specialist Transmec Group feels it is now in control following a period of adjustment to the terms of the Brexit deal. Transmec has 40 offi ces in 14

countries with its headquarters in Italy, near Modena. Whilst its UK business normally moves around 85,000 shipments per year between 12 European countries,

Italy remains its

primary market. During the Brexit transition

period, a central customs team was established and trained to manage customs clearance on behalf of the three main UK depots at West Thurrock, Redditch and Bradford. “While we had made extensive

preparations, there was still a period of adjustment to the exact terms of the Brexit deal,” explained UK general manager, John Simkins. “Like everyone else, we experienced diffi culties

Italy, as always maintaining a high proportion of chemicals that fall within the scope of the ADR/IMDG dangerous goods regulations. “This sector helped us through last year, as much of the chemical industry didn’t experience a slowdown like other sectors. Whilst we anticipated making a loss last year, we ended up in profi t, with just the second quarter and August proving the poor months. In fact, the Italian service was one of the

at the beginning of the year, particularly in relation to the country of origin rules.” However, the business

moved quickly to take control by increasing its customs team, now 12-strong, and taking on more people to accounts and customer service roles. Close cooperation with customers has proved essential in managing the new requirements. The sense of control has

been reinforced by Transmec running its own 180-strong fl eet and having an extensive branch network – including eight in Italy - to help manage the passage of

least aff ected.” Since January though, the

transport of dangerous goods needing to use freight-only ferries has proven somewhat more challenging. Routing via Zeebrugge has been diffi cult as obtaining ferry bookings has had to be ‘on the day’, plus with strict driver testing for Covid-19 in place, the ability to plan ahead is nigh on impossible. However: “We have been moving even the most diffi cult of

freight on the other side of the Channel. While

January saw an

expected dip in volumes, largely due to stockpiling, imports from Italy – which include fashion, automotive and engineering parts,

ceramics and non-

perishable food items – have now crept back up to more than 90% of normal levels. Exports, however, appear to

be matching the general trend and are currently lagging behind at around 45%. The shortfall is currently being made up by increased business to other EU countries, including Ireland and

part because so many companies are going off at their own tangents with customs brokers, and also because EU importers will eventually become fed up with the additional processes and purchase within their own community. Denton adds: “As a groupage operator, we would always prefer to handle customs formalities for everything loaded on our service. This maintains a tighter control and avoids the need for trailers to go to multiple customs offi ces.” EU importers are putting

unnecessary pressure - “not far short of bullying if I may express an

Germany. Road services to and from

Italy continue to run daily and many trucks are double-manned to reduce journey times. Transmec’s

high degree of

control is helping to minimise delays aff ecting exports, which are typically around 24 hours. Whereas freight was previously collected and shipped to Italy on the same day, it usually begins its journey the following day to ensure everything is in place to meet customs requirements. “On a single trailer of fashion

garments there can be more than 150 diff erent customs

opinion” - on UK exporters to ship delivered duty paid (DDP) when, in reality, as long as the goods are of UK origin, there is no real fi nancial impact apart from a short period of cash fl ow for import VAT. The processes involved in shipping DDP are arduous and take time to set up. It also doesn’t help because DDP can be interpreted a number of ways. There are better ways to handle this

if EU importers

communicate harmoniously with their UK suppliers instead of being rigid in their approach, says Denton. Nevertheless, he concludes:

“Where one door closes, another door opens. Eventually it will all settle down.”

headings, so the task cannot be underestimated,” Simkins added. “Things are more

straightforward when it comes to imports and we’re currently experiencing far fewer delays because the system is more streamlined, meaning that freight is normally cleared quickly and effi ciently. “Of course, the fact that our

own team is clearing 80% of the freight we bring in does help and our intention is to extend our services, for both export and import, to other carriers within the next six months.”

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