Shipments to and from the U.K. are just now beginning to return to normal after a major disruption connected with Britain’s formal separation from the EU on Dec. 31, complicated by Covid-19 tests at border points, according to several sources, although U.K. consumers are reportedly facing higher charges because of the extra paperwork.
As a major indicator of the progress, DPD has resumed its road service from the U.K. to the EU after resolving customs clearance problems caused by post-Brexit administration rules. The international carrier had suspended operations in the first week of the month and planned to start again on Jan. 13. However, continued confusion over incorrectly completed paperwork saw the pause continue until Jan. 16.
There were also problems due to an upgrade to the British government’s Computerised Transit System (NCTS) which meant not all packages could be validated. DPD said a fifth of cross-channel parcels had incomplete or incorrect paperwork.
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the government agency responsible, had “overcome initial issues with their system and DPD is now in a position to recommence its road service for EU bound deliveries” the delivery firm said in a statement. “All DPD International Air services have been continuously available and remain so,” the company added.
Problems with the NCTS and lack of awareness over regulatory requirements by consumers have heightened concerns that some firms will stop exports to the U.K. There are also worries that delays will increase as freight traffic ramps up after the quieter post-Christmas period and when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
New rules enforced on Jan. 1 mean that suppliers sending parcels to the U.K. containing goods valued at £135 (€151.7-$184.4) or less are responsible for paying any import value-added tax that is due – effectively collecting tax for HMRC.
The British media have reported that British e-commerce customers have complained about extra charges along with higher delivery fees to cover the extra paperwork. An increasing number of customers have preferred to return the packages rather than paying up the unexpected fees.