Vladimir Boltach, UK and Europe Operations Director at Autoparts Ltd, provides ATF Professional with his experience of the changes which have occurred for used car parts exporters after Brexit.
Our company has been exporting used car parts successfully from the UK to Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan since 2006. Like many other exporters, we have experienced changes in our operations since the UK left the EU on the 1st of January 2021. Fortunately for our business, the changes were not as significant as we initially anticipated, and the main downside was an increase in haulage and administrative costs.
Our UK exports were outside the EU from the very beginning as Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan are not the members of the block. In some way, UK companies who sold their used car parts to us were more prepared as we required them to provide us with their Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) to make EU customs declarations before we could arrange our first shipment. Since the UK left the EU, the EORI number has become a must for all UK companies willing to export not only outside the EU but to the EU.
The EU market is one of the largest for most UK salvage and vehicle recycling companies, so knowing all the details on how to deal with exports are essential to minimise the disruption in sales and reach set targets.
This is a summary of what we have experienced as a business working with our suppliers in the UK since Brexit:
- Customs Declarations – UK customs clearance:
- England, Scotland and Wales. When the UK was part of the EU, we used to do it at the EU border with Belarus (Lithuanian or Polish customs). Since Brexit, we had to do everything here in the UK (Hull or Dover port). This is normally the responsibility of the exporter and now could cost anything from £100 to as much as £1,000 depending on the amount of customs codes included in the invoice and packing list. Since we always took care of it to make it easier for our suppliers, it ended up costing us extra. EU customs clearance used to be part of the shipping cost from the transport companies we use to ship parts from the UK to Belarus.
- Northern Ireland. Even though Northern Ireland is part of the UK, our customs agents based in England cannot process shipments from Northern Ireland. We had some issues doing our fist load from the county after Brexit, and the situation is still unclear. We managed to find a temporary solution, but our costs have increased quite significantly, amounting to more than £500 per load shipped from Northern Ireland.
- EU Transit – For any company that is selling directly to Belarus and Russia, the EU becomes a transit zone, so Transit Goods Declaration (T1) will have to be completed and included with all the other paperwork they send. This must be done, or the wagon will not be able to leave the UK port. Currently, we are charged in the region of £60 per load.
- Delivery Costs from the UK. These costs have risen by a minimum of 10%, and now we pay depending on the location of each suppliers’ yard around the UK – from £2,300 up to £3,600 for each load we export to our main warehouse in Minsk, Belarus.
- Delivery time. This has stayed more or less the same. We only had one major delay in December when France imposed COVID testing for drivers coming from the UK just before Christmas. We had one of our loads stuck in Dover delivery, which was delayed by a week (it took two weeks instead of the 5-7 days it normally takes).
- Administration / Paperwork. Weighing the load at the weighbridge is a must now. Previously, we could do the weighing in Lithuania or Poland (at the EU border with Belarus), now it has to be done in the UK, at the premises of our suppliers or if no weighbridge is at the yard – find a local one nearby. Again, this is an extra cost for any business that does not have a weighbridge at its premises. All paperwork must be printed out and sent with a driver to ensure swift customs clearance at the UK border with the EU. It added an extra 3-4 hours of administration work for our export team to prepare all the right documents to be sent with the load to minimise delays. Three copies of each document (packing list, invoice, CMR, T1 Transit Goods Declaration, UK Customs papers) are printed out and passed to the driver. While the truck is driven to the port of Dover or Hull, our haulage agent is registering T1 declaration for the EU transit and gets a unique LRN number (transit customs number) which is shown at the customs so the UK goods can be realised into the EU for transit.
Even though each side (the UK and the EU) had lots of time to prepare and ensure a smooth transition, it still added extra work and costs for the businesses in the UK and abroad. I have heard that there are some issues and even higher costs associated with exporting complete salvage vehicles from the UK to the EU. Short-term, this can potentially have an impact on vehicle salvage auction sales in the UK while the solutions are found for the best way of doing it.
We at Autoparts Ltd are continuously improving our systems at work and have adjusted our operations to implement changes that Brexit brought with minimum disruption for our suppliers. We have the experience and expertise to make your export initiatives a success!
Should you have any questions, more information can be found at www.autospares.by/en.php