Exporters and importers, including many small businesses, will suffer most after Brexit according to international shipping providers.
The impact of Brexit on small businesses will fall hardest on those that export and import, Simon Cowie, chairman of Mail Boxes Et, has said. His comments are echoed by a spokeperson from ParcelHero.
Cowie said: “Although a trading deal with the EU is likely, there is a lot of ignorance about the benefits the single market brings small businesses. Currently, importing and exporting goods to the other 27 members is almost as straightforward as sending goods from London to Newcastle. In future, companies will have to generate Commercial Invoice documentation (in triplicate), face customs inspection and associated delays and, in many cases, pay additional duties and freight forwarding bills.”
Cowie said it is likely that carriers will increase shipping charges to cover their own increased costs. “It currently costs businesses about 50% more to send packages to non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland compared with similar countries inside the single market. I am concerned for our customers who will need help in negotiating the minefield of exporting once Brexit becomes a reality.”
Meanwhile, international courier ParcelHero has called on the Government to secure access to the Single Market and avoid imposing new tariffs following Brexit.
David Jinks, ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, said: “We are concerned for our customers about the possibility of increased costs in sending parcels to the EU and also receiving items from the Union.”
He said: “ParcelHero regularly ships to those countries that are in Europe but not in the EU, such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Parcels sent to these countries face customs delays, red tape and tariffs of between 5-9% on average. We hope that the UK will not find itself with similar customs charges and paperwork. It is our hope that negotiations between the UK Government and Brussels will ensure that the EU will not impose new tariffs on British goods shipped into the EU; and that similarly the UK Government will not seek to impose tit-for-tat tariffs in return.”
Jinks added: “ParcelHero does not foresee any price rises for its popular EU services while the UK’s future relationship is hammered out; and it will seek to protect its customers from any increased costs in the long term.”