Copenhagen, August 13, 2019
Since 2016, DFDS has been preparing for Brexit. “Our international Brexit team works with our local teams as well as the customs and border authorities in each country to prepare for Brexit, and we have come a long way with this,” says Kell Robdrup, Senior Vice President and responsible for North Sea freight routes and major port terminals. Preparations include training and hiring staff to build knowledge and competence relating to customs clearance. “We aim to offer customs clearance as a new service to our customers. In addition to customs competence, this includes allocating or acquiring extra space at terminals for customs clearance, and for storing trailers that are awaiting customs clearance,” says Kell Robdrup. It also includes certification as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) by the customs authorities, enabling DFDS to offer simplified customs procedures and securities. AEO status has been granted to DFDS in the UK, and in most countries with DFDS routes to and from the UK.
A main area of preparation is IT. To ensure that processes are in place to support our customers and maintain flow after Brexit, when new processes and standards apply, teams of IT experts have been working on integrating and adapting IT systems to ensure efficient communication with customs’ and port authorities’ systems.
Informing cargo customers
“It is particularly important for us to support our customers. Therefore, we have organised meetings with customers in all locations and in all countries. We have arranged webinars informing our freight customers about the changes they need to make, and have established a Brexit internet site that tells both logistics providers and their customers about the preparations they need to make.
Steep learning curve
“We anticipate that many smaller and medium-sized companies will not be ready to handle customs clearance on 31 October. If customers arrive without the necessary documentation, the regulations will not allow them to board the ferry. This is most likely to affect the flow on our Channel routes at the beginning and cause some customers to use our Rotterdam – UK services instead,” says Kell Robdrup.
“However, we believe that those customers who experience delays because of lack of documentation will be ready next time. We will also do our utmost to assist customers with support teams in place in our terminals. We believe there will be a steep learning curve and that flow will be restored after a few weeks,” says Kell Robdrup.