© Taina Sohlmanm_DB Schenker truck 80728028
© Taina Sohlman

DB Schenker’s decision to suspend road transport services to the UK will “go down like a lead balloon”, amid mounting criticism of multinational forwarders’ handling of the post-Brexit processes.

Germany-headquartered DB Schenker yesterday informed customers via email it would be suspending land transport deliveries to the UK in response to “enormous bureaucratic regulations”.

The email, a copy of which has been passed to The Loadstar, informed customers it would “postpone all shipments until further notice”.

A spokesperson for the forwarder confirmed the move and told The Loadstar “missing and incomplete customs documents are responsible for delaying deliveries into the UK”, but would not be drawn on when services would resume.

“DB Schenker has identified significant problems relating to new customs formalities that apply to shipments between the EU and the UK as a result of Brexit,” a statement said.

“Only around 10% of the customs documents submitted for consignments that DB Schenker has been commissioned to ship have been complete and free of errors. Most of the documents are incomplete and/or contain errors.

“DB Schenker employees who have been especially trained for Brexit are available around the clock to assist customers in completing the required customs documents correctly. Nevertheless, every consignment accompanied by incomplete and/or erroneous customs documents delays the departure of the associated full-load shipment. Consignments that are not properly declared cannot be delivered to their destinations.”

The decision follows fast on the heels of DPD, which announced last week it was suspending road deliveries into the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Blaming new border procedures and additional customs paperwork required for Europe-bound parcels, the company said it was unable to cope with extra pressure on turnaround and transit times.

Furthermore, it said it would be returning some 20% of parcels received as they had been sent with incorrect or incomplete data.

While both companies appear to have apportioned the blame on others, questions over the preparedness of larger forwarders and delivery companies are mounting, with one source noting, “we’ve known for a year extra paperwork would be required”.

Another source told The Loadstar: “DB’s decision is a bit dramatic; it will go down like a lead balloon. It has a lot of customers in a lot of sectors.”

In an announcement after the leak of the email, DB Schenker said it would deliver “as quickly as possible” any consignments already accepted, but reiterated that it would not be able to accept any new consignments for shipment to the UK.

Logistics professionals took to social media to vent their frustration at the news, with one responding to Schenker’s advice that customers postpone their deliveries by stating “or do what shippers do, go elsewhere and maybe never come back”.

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  • Chris Evans

    January 14, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    Perhaps it is time now to stop using the German state sponsored forwarder DB Schenker and similar companies. Also it is not surprising that they will hurt their own clients as well as themselves. In a free market you have a choice.

    Notice that recently DB Schenker have been “Grandstanding a lot” in other sectors such as seafreight.
    Never been a more dangerous time for them!

    • Jonas

      January 15, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      Idk why you suspect that Schenker is “sponsored” Schenker ist one of just to profitable firms within DB and does not require money from the German state.

  • Joe Farrelly

    January 14, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Why is there no mention about Maersk reneging on 2021 signed contracts with dead freight clauses and space guarantees? Particularly on freight forwarders, whilst protecting BCO contracts and selected freight forwarders on FEWB trade.
    Surely this must be newsworthy.

    Kind Regards.

  • Stuart Mann

    January 14, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    No problems so far for International Forwarders using CargoWise One. Brexit ready.

    • william

      January 15, 2021 at 10:48 pm

      The problem is not getting the good in to the uk that is the easy part. We do a customs clearance and its here.

      Europe are trying to shaft the English business all need T1 if you do not go straight to that country. I can see this being the end of trade with europe. We will shift our veg buying and other goods will be sourced else where. Electrical goods they sell to us will be finished all made in originally. People forget eu and uk make no goods. This has stopped the under cutting…

  • william

    January 15, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Stuart any international company was prepared. I have had how to these clearance for over 2 months im not with cargo wise . Same an entry from china just change 1 box

    Anyway we will be moving away from europe they just made easy for trade with us but made it hard for english companies to do trade with them without a T1 if going through other countries.

    Cant wait till we finally stop trading with them. its coming

  • Mjr Catastrophe

    January 16, 2021 at 6:36 am

    I own a micro-business importing goods from Europe into the UK. I’m small time.

    Being my livelihood, I made sure I was ready: EORI, commodity codes, CPC, letters of authority re: representation. This is what Schenker and Rhenus asked for. (BTW, Rhenus have stopped EU-UK transit as of Friday 15.1.21).

    I then contacted my EU suppliers and basically redesigned their commercial invoice to show the relevant information required, including gross and net weight, incoterms, insurance, po numbers. telephone numbers, et al.

    From Schenkers pov however, all it takes is the setting up simple database making sure that both their customers and consignees have completed the relevant information. If they have, they get “Brexit ready approval” or such kind.

    This is what the transition period was for, to get ready. I assume Schenker execs were playing golf during this time?

    Another thing. In this day and age, they way in which they communicate is abhorrent. Twitter is the perfect platform for keeping customers up to date. Instead, they use it for BS marketing shout outs and sycophantic hashtags: “What will the warehouse of the future look like?” and #OurAnswerIsYES

    #OurAnswerIsYES: oh, ok… Such confidence in what they do, they have to CAPITALISE it!!


  • Paul Bunnage

    January 16, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Could this be due to pressure from the German government who own DB Schenker to cause disruption because the UK left the EU?
    DB Schenker have being accused and in some cases convicted of wrong doing before but when DBS has the government behind the company do they care?
    The company also have large stakes in other rail businesses in the UK. Perhaps a threat of rail nationalisation could be an option. It would make us more independent and stop forieign companies including DBS from profiteering at rail users expense.