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LONDON: February 14, 2019. As the Netherlands foreign minister Stef Blok warns Dutch businesses to be prepared for Brexit and a Bank of England member of its monetary policy committee says the decision has already cost Britain £800 million a week, international delivery specialist ParcelHero suggests UK retailers and traders are now faced with the prospect of ordering products without knowing if there will be extra duties to pay by the time they can be sold in the UK or EU.

The online parcel price comparison site is warning that the thousands of Chinese products and components shipped from China to the UK every month by sea will arrive too late for resale into the EU before March 29.

“It’s putting UK sellers in an impossible position, not knowing if their goods will be still be competitive or face punitive new tariffs,’ said ParcelHero head of Consumer Research David Jinks. “How can they be expected to place future orders under these conditions?

“British exports and imports with key markets such as South Africa and Canada will now not have time to be loaded, shipped and delivered to their buyer in time to avoid the impact of a no-deal Brexit. That means, should the UK crash out of the EU with no deal, the EU’s hard-won trade agreements will no longer apply to British goods, which will face significant new tariffs under WTO rules.

“There are just 43 days to Brexit. The transit time from the nearest Chinese port to the UK, Shenzhen, is six weeks door-to-door, including 25 days at sea. And from Shanghai it’s a seven-week door-to-door transit with goods 30 days at sea. That leaves no time for UK traders selling into the lucrative EU marketplace to take delivery of stock before Brexit.

“With huge uncertainty surrounding a no-deal Brexit, that means hundreds of UK marketplace traders and retailers are left wondering if there will still be a competitive market for their internationally sourced products in the EU by the time they arrive.

“And time has run out for British shipments by sea to and from key markets such as South Africa and Canada as well. It takes six weeks for part container loads to reach South Africa by sea – and 44 days door-to-door to and from Canada.

“These are counties that [Britain] currently trades with under EU agreements that will no longer apply after a hard Brexit – meaning new duties and tariffs on British goods. How can British manufacturers and retailers continue to export under these conditions? And how can UK importers plan ahead when it’s anyone’s guess how much more iconic products such as Canada’s maple syrup or South Africa’s biltong may cost post-Brexit in the UK?

“Smaller loads that can be sent by air using specialist courier services can be shipped Economy from China in just nine days – and its possible for goods to be flown in two days in an emergency. But that will add significant extra logistics costs compared to the proverbial slow boat from China. For the many British retailers sourcing cheaply from the Far East and selling on products into the EU using popular sites such as eBay and Amazon, their ship may have sailed.”


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