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Benefits of Sea Freight

Sea freight forwarding also know as ocean freight is a cost-effective way of transporting goods. AFFA offer sea freight services for both importing and exporting goods. We have regular departures to the Far East, Middle East, Africa, Australia, Mediterranean as well as many other locations across the globe. 

Sea shipping is very cost-effective and costs significantly less when compared to air freight. This is the due to the reduced fuel consumption and the ability for small cargo to share the cost amongst multiple businesses shipping goods. If you are a small business you may not have considered sea freight shipping but at AFFA we have the option for you to fill a full container or share the container with other cargo. You also don’t have to worry about the size of your goods as we can accommodate cargo of different weights, shapes and sizes. 

Sea freight is more environmentally friendly than air freight and produces fewer carbon emissions. Making it the most environmentally friendly when shipping goods internationally. In recent years, there have been significant improvements in shipping emissions and organisations continue to work to reduce the carbon emissions from sea freight even further. Sea freight can also be the most efficient way to ship internationally with more traffic on the road, sea freight doesn’t encounter traffic.

A further benefit of sea freight is that we will take care of customs clearance for you. This will be especially beneficial as the UK’s Brexit transition period ends and the customs clearance process becomes more complex. We also have regulation in place to keep your cargo and our crew safe. AFFA has experience in carrying hazardous or dangerous materials and we are fully equipped to do so. Of course, it is also important that your good are prepared properly for transit and all precautions are taken.

We also have some tips for when you decide to use sea freight shipping:

  • Always plan ahead, sea freight can take longer to arrive at its destination. When you book in advance we will give you an estimated time of delivery.
  • You don’t always have to ship in large quantities but it can sometimes be more cost-effective when shipping internationally.
  • Ensure all your goods are well packaged to prevent chances of damage during transit. 

If you are interested in how sea freight shipping could benefit your business please contact us to discuss the options available.

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Brexit considerations for the freight industry

On the 31st January 2020 the UK left the EU and on 31st December 2020 the transition period will end resulting in changes for the freight industry. In the likely event the UK leaves the EU without a deal the following must be taken into consideration.

From the 1st January 2020, businesses importing good from the EU will have to make customers declarations. These declarations can be made by the business, courier, freight forwarder or customs agent. AFFA can take care of customs declarations for you.

Road Freight

From the 1st January 2021 road freight will be required to carry a ECMT International Road Haulage Permit for both laden and unladen journeys. UK drivers will also need to get International driving permits. From October 2021 EU, EEA and Swiss National ID cards will not be acceptable for travel to the UK, this includes drivers.

The additional protocols are likely to add time to border crossings for drivers, queue time will add to working time and even when drivers are permitted to proceed at the border, they may not be able to do so until they have taken a mandatory break in accordance with the Working Time Directive. 

HGV drivers will also be required to carry a Kent Access Permit in the bid to prevent tailbacks on the roads surrounding Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

Air Freight

Air freight may see an increase in demand following the end of the transition period with long delays expected at borders on the road. Despite this estimation air freight will see some changes.

The UK intends to recognise EU cargo security rules to minimise disruption to air cargo networks. Airlines flying from airports in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will be able to fly cargo to the UK as they do now without changes. The same applies to cargo flying from the UK to the above countries. 

For the certain goods being exported or imported to the UK licenses or certificates will be required, see the full list of goods here.

Furthermore for importing and exporting good from the UK as of the 1st January 2021 you will need an EORI number that starts with GB.

Sea Freight 

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK is likely to loose cabotage rights that are currently liberalised for EU members. The UK will become a third country operator and at the moment this country operators can only perform where the national legislation of EU member states extends to the rights of third country interests. This is currently possible in Denmark, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The UK government has also announced that in the event of ‘no deal’ it will seek third country recognition of UK Certificates of Competency as mandated y the International Convention on Stand of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. EU and EEA issued Certificated of Competency will still be recognised in the UK.

There are still a lot of uncertainties as to what the full impact of Brexit will be on the freight industry and we recommend businesses regularly review advice on the UK government website.

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The impact of COVID-19 on the freight industry

2020 has been a challenging year for people across the globe and the freight industry is no exception. Increased online shopping, safety protocols and breaks in the supply chain have created challenges for all involved in the shipping industry and delivery of freight by road, air or sea.

Lockdowns and the closure of retail led to an increase in online shopping across all sectors. The supermarkets saw demand for online delivery double causing delivery slot shortages across the UK. Supermarket’s had to prioritise their customer base and allocate slots to those shielding or in high-risk groups before the rest of their customers. The increased demand resulted in several supermarket chains hiring hundreds more delivery drivers to meet customer demand. 

The pandemic also caused several shortages of essential items. For example, the UK saw a shortage of hand sanitiser and PPE due to delayed international deliveries. The shortages meant many businesses with the facilities to manufacture hand sanitiser stepped in to help, BrewDog and INEOS are just two examples. The increased demand for these products resulted in pressure on freight services to deliver the essential items to those who needed them most, primarily the NHS and social care services. 

As with all industries the freight industry has seen an increase in safety protocols. Reduced staff numbers, social distancing and limiting the sharing vehicles have all provided challenges for the industry. Although necessary to protect staff, the additional measures have often resulted in reduced efficiency and delays for the consumer. In a bid to keep supply chains moving, deliver essential medical supplies and alleviate some of the pressure on road freight, air freight companies have been utilising the cargo capacity in passenger aircraft. 

COVID-19 has also caused problems for global supply chains, in particular those who rely heavily on China for supplies and parts. Many businesses have had to re-evaluate their supply chains to ensure they can deliver their products to customers and try to avoid product shortages. COVID-19 is something no business was prepared for and has led many to undertake in-depth risk assessment and consider redesigning their supply chains.

The pandemic has led to a high level of pressure on the freight industry to deliver and thanks to the industry’s determination, we have managed to keep the world’s goods moving.

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