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24


Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal


///MALTA


Rising to the challenge


Brexit, Covid…was there ever a time since World War II that this tiny island nation faced such huge challenges? But the freight and logistics industry has proved equal to the task.


Denton advises that Ital


Brexit and the renewed need for customs documentation has put freight operators from the UK to Malta under pressure, says one of the country’s leading road groupage providers. “Since January this year,


Malta has become somewhat of a challenge”, explains Phil Denton, managing director of Ital Logistics. “With only an eight-day time limit for Transit (T1) documents,


timings cross-docked in are


critical, especially as most of our current exports to Malta are


Milan.


This is also generic across other services where greater distance is involved, Greece in particular.”


Given the likely transit time


from the UK to Malta, including two ferry crossings, the eight-day time limit for T1s is uncomfortably tight, he points out. Notwithstanding this, Ital


Logistics’ service to Malta is still maintaining previous levels he says, and despite 2020 being largely disrupted by Covid shipments numbers for 2019, 2020 and the first few months of 2021 have remained stable at over 60 per month, continues route manager Dean Emsley. “We have a good solid partnership with EuroBridge in Malta, having started the service a few years ago, and


I am hopeful that we will be soon be sending trailers direct to Malta without cross-docking in Italy.” Since January, Ital Logistics


has taken on 11 new employees, seven of whom have already started work. Denton says: “Before Brexit we were of the opinion that while workload would increase by way of increased documentation and regulation, demand between the UK and the EU would retract initially, so we refrained from employing people prematurely. But I couldn’t have been further from reality. Cross channel trade was reportedly 37% down in January; we were just 19% down.” As


the month progressed, many customers that Ital had


lost along the way in recent times on price started to come back. Denton adds:


“On top


of this, many existing clients moved more of their business our way, and we are now exceeding pre-Covid levels. Our aim has never been to make profits from customs procedures, just simply to ensure that additional costs incurred in people, training and time spent are recovered and that we can continue to provide our usual services.”


Ital’s Maltese partner,


EuroBridge, has also been expanding its staff numbers following a move to new premises in 2019, Denton continues: “Now


with 30


persons in tow, my counterpart, David Abela, has advised that the company is doing better than ever before. Furthermore, this year they have gained AEO status which affirms their position as a serious company, and, as David says “We’ve got customs covered.”


Logistics is also currently in the process of obtaining AEO status and at the same time becoming ISO accredited. “I’m probably opening myself up for criticism with this,” he says, “but I’ve never really been a fan of ISO. You make your own manual and then follow it. Honestly, it seems a pointless task, but as I am now stepping up the process of backing away from the helm, now is a good time to introduce it so that my managers and directors of the future have a sound bible to work off.” Most goods that Ital Logistics to


ships Malta tend to items be


electricals, homewares, ships’ spares, medical


and


foodstuffs to name a few, plus its niche area of dangerous goods which accounts for around a quarter of its EU exports annually.


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