As well documented at the time, the beginning of 2021 presented challenges to many companies and industries following the implementation of the very late Brexit agreement reached in December 2020 who import and export into the EU. Before this time, things were much more straightforward in arranging transport between the EU and the UK as we were operating within the same Customs Union. However, as the year has developed, we are pleased to see that deliveries into and out of the EU have improved as 2021 has developed, and in some cases are as fast as they were pre-Brexit for our products.
We at Protective Packaging Ltd took Brexit very seriously and formed a committee to monitor and adapt to the changes in order to be completely prepared for all eventualities during Q4 of 2020. Pro-active behaviours included requesting in advance the EORI numbers of each of our EU customers, ensuring all tariff codes were up to date and ensuring that the documentation we used in arranging shipments (most notably Commercial Invoices and Packing Lists) were set up to include all necessary information in line with best practice. We were also pro-actively engaging with EU based suppliers and the freight forwarders we used in order to be as best prepared as we could be.
When the 1st of January 2021 came however, experiencing delays with outgoing and incoming shipments for the first few of months this year seemed almost unavoidable as all freight forwarders struggled in some capacity to come to terms with the new requirements for customs declarations. With no time to prepare in real time because of the late nature of the deal being agreed, these were challenging times for freight forwarders and couriers who in many cases had to learn on the job. If you fast-forward 10 months, companies and freight forwarders are now more used to the new rules and things are in a much better place than in January 2021 as procedures and operations have learned and adapted to these changes.
International commercial terms (aka Incoterms) are also something we use more infrequently with our International shipments beyond the EU, but this has now come into our thinking on a day-to-day basis. For anyone unfamiliar, these are the internationally recognised terms to clearly define the responsibilities of the buyer and seller. The most common terms we use include DAP (delivered at place), DDP (delivery duty paid), or EXW (ex-works). If you are based in the EU and need to discuss or further understand these terms with our team and their implications, we would be happy to discuss these with you.