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Germany panic: Brexit impact rocks shipping firms as they admit 'it's worse than Covid'

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Shipping firms trying get goods to and from the UK have faced days of delays and excessive red tape since the start of the year and in some cases have been forced to suspend their operations. The port of Kiel, northern Germany’s main international shipping hub, has been one of the hardest hit by the disruption since Britain left the EU on December 31.

A spokesman for Petersen-Mordhorst Logistics, which has a base in the city, said: “There are immense delays.

“Before Brexit, deliveries from Kiel to Great Britain or vice versa would have taken five days.

“Even coronavirus had hardly changed anything about that. Now we are often at two weeks, sometimes even longer.”

The company blamed the delays on stringent customs formalities and controls on product standards that came into effect at the beginning of the year.

The spokesman said: “We can no longer simply drive from A to B.

“Export documents have to be drawn up and customs cleared over there. And the trailers have to wait.

“The English are simply overwhelmed with the entire process.

“They didn’t have these problems with other non-EU countries like Switzerland or Norway which is probably also due to the fact that the long-foreseeable exit of Great Britain was decided very suddenly.”

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DB Schenker, the transport and logistics division of the Deutsche Bahn rail company, said it had completely suspended land transport to the UK.

The group, which also has a base in Kiel, said significant problems surfaced when dealing with customs formalities for the movement of goods between the EU and UK with customs documents found to be incomplete or incorrect for the majority of shipments.

A survey published last week by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) indicates that the situation has even worsened since the start of the year.

Of the 350 UK supply chain managers surveyed, almost 60 percent said it now takes longer to move goods between the continent and the UK than it did in January.

CIPS chief economist John Glen fears that the situation could initially get even worse if transition periods from the British side expire and further import declarations have to be made.

Mr Glen said: “The domino effects of these delays will seep through supply chains, ultimately leading to inventory shortages and higher prices for consumers.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)



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