Find your expert

Transport & Logistics: Trade Barometer report puts focus on international opportunities

Santander has launched its fourth annual Trade Barometer report, charting the sentiment and attitudes of UK businesses with a specific focus on international trade.


The research found that while the impact of coronavirus has been considerable, there’s still a significant amount of optimism for the medium-term future. 59% of businesses which trade overseas, are confident of growth in the next three years. This rises to 66% when we look solely at transport and logistics businesses.


Importance of international trade

26% of all businesses say international trade will be more important as a result of the pandemic. While only 5% say it will be less important. This gives a clear indication of the growth opportunities many firms believe overseas expansion can offer.

The Trade Barometer makes it clear that most transport and logistics companies expect Brexit to have a material impact on their operations. But nevertheless, more than half believe the European Union will continue to offer the best opportunity for international growth.

According to the research, the general bureaucracy associated with international trade, as well as the specific regulatory issues likely to emerge after the end of the implementation period on 31 December, are seen as major challenges to operating overseas. It’s estimated that the number of customs declarations, as a result of Brexit, will increase annually by 200 million. Businesses who have only ever traded in Europe will now need to complete customs documentation for the first time, while also coming to terms with requirements such as rules of origin, third-country rules, incoterms (these specify who’s responsible for paying for and managing the shipment, insurance, documentation, customs clearance, and other logistical activities), health certification, duties, and import VAT and so on.

We’re working with an international trade specialist who can provide guidance on what actions your business should be taking to prepare for the forthcoming changes, as well as training on all the key elements of international trade.


Latest guidance for importers and exporters

The UK Government has just published an updated version of its Border Operating Model. The main developments include: 

  • updates in a number of agri-food and environmental policy areas including fish, chemicals, fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances, high-priority plants and plant products 
  • further detail on delayed customs declarations and the requirements of Entry in Declarants Records (EIDR)
  • clarity on guarantees and DDA requirements 
  • further clarity on level of checks applying to goods subject to sanitary and phytosanitary controls in July 2021
  • the ‘Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border’ service (formerly known as Smart Freight) 
  • refreshed process maps to reflect where greater detail is now available
  • a number of new annexes including passenger policies and requirements for aviation, rail and energy sectors.

You can find more information and keep up to date with further changes here


New clean air zones in Birmingham and Bath

Authorities in Bath and Birmingham plan to introduce clean air zones next year. Bath’s comes into force on 15 March 2021, with Birmingham’s on 1 June 2021. Support measures are to be put in place to assist operators with the acquisition of cleaner Euro VI-standard vehicles. More details for Bath are here and for Birmingham are here


International freight news

Container rates on the Asia to Northern Europe routes fell slightly last week as China’s Golden Week National Holiday came to an end. Rates are however much higher than at the same period in 2019 as shipping lines continue to manage capacity. The Shanghai Containerised Shipping Index (SCFI) reports 85% vessel utilisation of ships leaving Shanghai. 

Nonetheless, the number of blank sailings has fallen. Only 13 of the scheduled 97 sailings on the Asia to Northern Europe route were cancelled in October. At the moment none of the scheduled November sailings have been cancelled as lines prepare for the peak pre-Christmas season.

According to the latest market data produced by WorldACD Market Data and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air freight rates remain stable after hitting record highs earlier in the year. August showed air freight volumes had fallen by 17.2% compared to 2019. But thanks to increased demand, revenues for the same period increased by 37%. According to the latest OAG data (the global travel data provider), global air capacity continues to fall, and with the winter season due to start soon, capacity is likely to drop even further over the coming weeks.


How we can help

All of the issues covered in this week’s update have the potential to impact our clients’ international supply chains. Please get in contact if you’re facing any supply chain difficulties because we work with a number of logistics companies with specialisms in particular markets or sectors who would be happy to provide advice on a range of potential solutions that might help you overcome such challenges.

To discuss how we can help your business please contact: