Brexit a boon for customs brokers at Sheffield firm

A Sheffield freight forwarding company is set to create jobs helping firms with red tape post-Brexit including declarations, tariffs, fees and VAT payments.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 6:10 pm
MD Steve White and shipping clerk Katie Widdowson with their new customs clearance certification at Metoni Logistics.

Metoni Logistics in Dinnington has used a £13,000 government grant to train staff as customs brokers and buy computers linked to ports and HMRC in preparation for a Brexit deal - or none.

Managing director Steve White said they could now help exporters to the EU prepare ‘declarations’ to be sent to government detailing items in a shipment and its value, for a fee of £25 per consignment.

For importers it would also calculate tariffs and VAT, which most firms will have to pay up front, to be paid to HMRC. Membership of the EU means UK firms can currently ship goods to the EU without tariffs or red tape.

The government is trying to negotiate a Brexit deal ahead of a deadline on October 31 - although many now believe the prime minister will be forced to ask the EU for an extension.

Mr White said their new customs clearance service was set to create jobs at the three-strong firm whatever happened.

He added: “We applied for the grant because we recognised there were going to be extra customs formalities post-Brexit. We are so close to October 31 and we still don’t know. Government and HMRC are giving a lot of advice but it depends if a deal is reached and what it is like.

“If we stay in the single market none of the paperwork will be required. But with the software and training we’ll be able to do the rest of the world so much better. So it won’t be a complete waste of money.”

The grant is part of an £8m scheme to create more customs brokers. The government is spending £100m on a publicity campaign urging firms to get ready for Brexit.

Last week it faced an unprecedented backlash from five key industries over Boris Johnson's plans for post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The aerospace, automotive, chemicals, food and drink and pharmaceutical sectors warned they could pose "serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness" by excluding them from regulatory institutions.