Mental health at risk due to new customs infrastructure

Just over half (51%) of all UK workers employed in the logistics sector are expecting their jobs to become more difficult as a result of Brexit, with six in 10 fearing for the mental health of themselves and their colleagues, according to new research.

The study* of 1,177 UK workers conducted on behalf of digital supply chain and customs clearance platform KlearNow, also found that 31% of those involved in logistics think consumers will suffer as a result of poor customs infrastructure.

Some 45% of those questioned in the sector said they believed ‘the UK’s customs infrastructure will struggle with the increased import and export paperwork’ and 39% say UK businesses are insufficiently prepared for post-Brexit trading.

The vast majority of logistics workers appear to hold the UK government responsible for this; as 82% don’t believe the Government’s messaging to businesses about preparing for Brexit has been clear or helpful.

The survey also revealed a lack in consumer confidence in general, with a third of those saying the UK’s customs infrastructure will struggle with the increased import and export paperwork and 31% thinking UK businesses are insufficiently prepared for post-Brexit trading.  Some 28% fear they will suffer as a result of poor customs infrastructure and 15% say it’s “unacceptable” for a nation like the UK to have a customs system that still relies on manual data entry processes**.

Sam Tyagi, founder and CEO KlearNow and American Red Cross advisory board member, believes the flaws in existing supply chain processes will lead to a two-tier customs system.

He says smaller businesses and their customers will be penalised by slower customs clearance and higher prices as overworked border staff prioritise larger importers.

“It’s abundantly obvious that as of right now, there simply aren’t enough staff employed at UK borders to handle the increase in workload brought about by Brexit. Our fear is that this will quickly lead to a two-tier system whereby larger importers spending more money on landing their goods are prioritised at the expense of smaller business and their customers.

“Non-UK businesses are already declaring their intention to stop importing to the UK as they discover the extra cost and workload required to land their goods. It is simply not going to be viable for a lot of smaller and medium sized businesses to land their goods in the UK.

“Even Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, has announced that he will no longer be exporting to the UK under the post-Brexit system given the increase in cost and time for his business.

“Without the rapid implementation of technology to make customs clearance easier, faster and cheaper, this trend will continue and UK consumers will suffer as a result.

“Customs clearance is the most outdated and high friction part of the global supply chain. A lot of customs entries are still completed with pen and paper. This is unacceptable for such an integral cog in the global supply chain system.”

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