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UK logistics operator Europa is reporting success for its Europa Flow product, designed to ease post-Brexit transport.
But branch network director Dionne Redpath admits it has not been “an easy ride”.
She told The Loadstar January was “absolutely dreadful,” with the business overwhelmed by IT and paperwork issues, as well as having to “hold customers’ hands” as they adapted to new trading arrangements.
“February was a month of two halves, in which the first was very similar to January. But from week six, we started to turn a corner.”
Businesses using Europa Flow are able to zero-rate VAT for imports into the EU. Exporting on delivered duty-paid (DDP) terms, the seller assumes the role of the importer of record, shipments are cleared into free circulation on arrival into the first EU territory, where duties are paid and VAT is handled using Europa’s global VAT number, before sending them for final delivery to another EU territory.
However, some sources tell The Loadstar reliance on EU Customs Regime 42 leaves the product operating in a “legal loophole”.
Regime 42 allows Europa to cater for EU markets on DDP terms, in which the seller takes full responsibility for export and import formalities, transport, duties and taxes, which Europa claims makes it “just as easy to buy from the UK” as before Brexit.
Ms Redpath said: “By no means is this a loophole, legal or otherwise. We worked extensively with Deloitte to ensure everything we had in place for post-Brexit was watertight.
“Ours is a company with a turnover of £200m, our legality and credibility is vital. We’d never operate in a manner that goes against the legal landscape. Regime 42 is used every day by those shipping from Canada, the Americas or the Far East. It facilitates trade from all over the world.”
Since last month began, the company has seen its business situation settle, with transit times also beginning to stabilise, she added. Weekly consignment counts have been climbing, with the company actively winning new business.
“March was the best month our road division has ever had,” said Ms Redpath.
“When we look at our systems, we see the need for little touches here and there to improve things, but we really are not looking at any major system changes. We have our eyes now on the 1 January 2022 deadline for EU imports into the UK.
“We have got ahead of the curve on this one and feel confident, and in a buoyant place, as far as this is concerned,” she added.