The UK’s Office for National Statistics has published the official figures which highlights the extent of the collapse in January for UK-EU trade. There was more that a 40% drop in UK exports to the EU as traders, their freight and logistics providers adjusted to the Covid-19 pandemic and new post Brexit challenges.
There was combination of factors which lead to this drop in exports. A government spokesperson spoke to Lloyd’s Loading List “A unique combination of factors, including stockpiling last year, Covid lockdowns across Europe, and businesses adjusting to our new trading relationship, made it inevitable that exports to the EU would be lower this January than last. This data does not reflect the overall EU-UK trading relationship post-Brexit and, thanks to the hard work of hauliers and traders, overall freight volumes between the UK and the EU have been back to their normal levels since the start of February.
“Many businesses have adapted well, and our focus now is on making sure that any business that is still facing challenges gets the support they need to trade effectively with the EU.”
The government highlighted that stock piling in December had clearly had an effect on trade, this with the new Covid-19 testing implications which saw delays between the UK and France before Christmas had also had an impact on Januarys figures.
Although the government has not publicly acknowledged the drop in exports it is aware there is a problem. This lead to an extension on the grace periods for checks on imports. The extra time is provided to ensure the entire supply chain is ready for the introduction on further border controls.
There is mixed opinions on how February and March figures are looking, with some indications seeing an improvement some are still seeing a deficit in the UK-EU freight trade partially with the imports from the UK to the EU. With many businesses include KTL Europe adapting well to the changes we and our supported partners are continuing to trade well within the EU.