The UK has emerged from Brexit talks to avoid a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario but by the skin of its teeth. In its place is a free trade agreement, developed and settled in extreme haste.
The agreement covers not just trade in goods and services, but also a broad range of other areas in the EU’s interest, such as investment, competition, State aid, tax transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection, and social security coordination.
As a business trading in Europe, we’re able to benefit from the EU Single Market and also from certain trade arrangements with other European countries. This means most goods can move freely within this territory without any extra costs or quantitative restrictions. This is known as free movement of goods. This is why our Rotterdam base has become a great go-between for us, as it has allowed us to connect with EU customers normally without the need for delays from extra paperwork or congestion.
The main challenge for us was making sure our lead times weren’t compromised. We currently quote 12 weeks, and so far we have been able to keep this up, much to our customers’ satisfaction.
The trade agreement has meant adapting our business a little bit, but not in a highly challenging way and still providing what we are reknown for – service.
Sea freight was already under pressure caused by the pandemic; online shopping soared, as did the demand from the PPE requirement. These items were shipped all over the world which meant as the demand rose and container spaces were taken, businesses were struggling to find ways to bring their stock to the UK or other parts of the globe.
The freight crisis has meant that many businesses have been faced with a real challenge. Prices have literally sky rocketed – one business was quoted £10,000 for a £1,600 container. One of the reasons why the prices have increased so drastically was that shipping lines have been trying to drive down demand from British importers by charging a premium for deliveries to the UK, or bypassing the country’s ports altogether.
Availability of shipping containers was also compromised because of the pandemic but even more once Brexit finally kicked in. Lorries and their drivers have been turned away at ports for not having the correct paperwork, resulting in them being stuck at the borders, sometimes for weeks. Ships have been unable to dock, again because of the backlog and the lack of the correct paperwork.
Usually during the Chinese New Year holiday, factories in the Far East shut down for at least two weeks. There were hopes the pause in production would give UK ports a chance to clear the backlog of ships waiting to dock, and encourage shipping lines to move more empty containers back to Asia, which is a less profitable journey. But rising numbers of coronavirus cases have prompted the Chinese authorities to stagger factory closing dates so that not all workers were not traveling to their home regions at the same time. Other countries like Vietnam unfortunately saw a worsening of the outbreak which led to travel restrictions, with workers unable to visit their families at all.
Law Print is now set up to bring all the packaging for EU customers directly into Holland without having to transit via the UK. This means we’re able to avoid unnecessary delays due to current port congestion and the increasing backlog created by additional shipping document requirements.
By working closely with our trusted freight forwarder, booking container spaces weeks in advance and planning our customers’ stocks carefully, we’re able to get packaging out to customers when they need and where they need it, within an average 12 week lead-time, making us one of the best choices for packaging supply in these troubling times.
Law Print has always offered its customers very attractive lead times despite having the packaging manufactured and shipped from the Far East. In the current pandemic situation, we have only increased our lead times to 12 weeks including transit. Our standard lead time is 10-12 weeks for new designs and 8-10 weeks for reprints.
This has been made easier by our new EU base, so those customers of ours who are based in the EU can be assured they’ll receive their packaging on time and still at an exceptional quality.
We cut no corners in terms of quality, and just because our lead times have not fallen, it doesn’t mean the quality has in order to get it to our customers quickly.
If your brand is looking to invest in quality packaging, we will guide you through the entire print process. Providing recommendations along the way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and add untold value to the end product.