CIPS News


Businesses to run low on stock if Brexit border delays continue

CIPS 22 January 2021

As we approach the end of the first month post-Brexit, there is concern that these delays will intensify as the volume of goods being moved across the border increases. 

  • Over half of businesses importing or exporting goods through the UK-EU border have experienced delays since January 1st
  • Nearly a quarter of businesses say they will run low on stock in the next few weeks if the situation at the border continues
  • A combination of new Brexit customs requirements and extra Covid-19 protocols are driving border delays

Businesses moving goods through the UK-EU border are reporting significant delays and will run low on stock if the situation continues, research by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has found.

The survey, of 185 UK and EU supply chain managers who have imported or exported through the UK-EU border since January 1st, found that 60% had experienced delays getting goods into the UK from Europe. Over a third (37%) reported that goods had been delayed by several days.

The situation is only slightly better in the opposite direction, with 45% having experienced delays getting goods into Europe from the UK and 28% saying goods were delayed by several days. Less than a quarter (24%) said they have not noticed any difference in the time it takes to get goods into the EU from the UK.

These delays may begin to have a significant impact on consumers in the next few weeks, with almost a quarter (23%) stating they would run low on stock should the situation at the border continue.

The extra time required for customs officials to work through the new paperwork is being reported as the primary cause of delays, with 27% selecting this as the main issue. However, extra Covid-19 protocols are exacerbating the situation with 11% selecting this as the primary cause of the delays.

As we approach the end of the first month post-Brexit, there is concern that these delays will intensify as the volume of goods being moved across the border increases. Many businesses built up stock in December ahead of the Brexit deadline, and 17% of respondents stated that they are importing or exporting far less through the border as a result of this stockpiling during the transition period. However, when this stock runs low businesses will have no option but to increase the volume of goods being transported across the border, with the potential of higher costs for transportation and customs notices. A further 18% expect their goods to be delayed once more traffic builds up at the border.

Dr John Glen, CIPS Economist, said:

“A combination of new customs requirements and ramped up Covid-19 protocols at the border has delayed trade coming both in and out of the EU. Not only do businesses have to manage the new customs and rules of origin paperwork, but also contend with Covid-19 testing and reduced staff due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Worryingly, it is likely the delays at the border will get worse before they get better. Traffic through the border since January 1st has been low compared to historical levels, but with December stockpiles depleting it won’t be long before trade traffic increases and more pressure is placed on these new border processes. As the transportation of goods grows so will the queues, and businesses may be forced to limit or halt production to cope with any potential stock shortages.”

About the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply: 

 

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) is the world’s largest professional body in this field and is the dynamic champion driving the procurement and supply management profession.  It is the worldwide centre of excellence on procurement and supply management issues.  CIPS has a global membership of over 70,000 in 150 different countries, including senior business people, high-ranking civil servants and leading academics. 

The activities of procurement and supply chain professionals have a major impact on the profitability and efficiency of all types of organisation and CIPS offers corporate solutions packages to improve business profitability. www.cips.org; @CIPSnews 

About the survey 

These findings were drawn from a survey of 444 UK and EU supply chain managers, 185 of whom had imported or exported through the UK-EU border since January 1st, 2021. All the data used in this release is from those who have imported or exported through the border since January 1st. The survey ran from Friday 8th January to Monday 18th January 2021.  

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