The timetable for Brexit has been set but there is continuing uncertainty around what it will look like, or even what it should look like. Whether the outcome is a hard, soft or runny Brexit, it is likely that the departure of the UK from the EU will have a significant on logistics and supply chains, most notably in relation to customs declaration filing. When the EU's internal borders came down in 1995 customs border posts between member states were closed and the need to file customs declarations for the movement of goods eliminated. As (currently) one of the EU's largest economies, the reverse will partly apply when the UK leaves.
The UK customs authority, HMRC, estimates that Brexit will increase the number of UK declarations five-fold, with customs checks at the border increasing from 60m a year to 300m a year. In the nature of international trade, one country's export is another's import so there will be a corresponding increase in declaration filing for UK freight across the EU member states. One estimate from the Netherlands is for a 40% increase in the number of declarations that will be filed in that country. Declaration filing is a data- and labour-intensive business and increases of these magnitudes represent a real challenge to those involved in supply chain and logistics.
Any business that currently moves freight to or from the UK, or whose customers do, must consider the bottom line impact of these transactional volume increases on their business. Then they must consider how to recover those costs, and how to minimise them through automation and software.