Logistics, shipping, and haulage: the effects of Brexit and Covid-19 on the international removals industry

Global Changes to International Relocation 

International shipping is in a state of disarray, and it’s affecting several industries, from food and drink retailers to international removals. With a combination of factors such as the UK’s departure from the EU and the Covid-19 global pandemic, the shipping industry has been hit hard and finds itself slowly recovering from these unfortunate circumstances. Here we layout the current problems the industry is facing and some of the solutions that are being proposed to help tackle the issues.  

How is Covid-19 affecting the shipping and logistics industry? 

With both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit occurring within 12 months of each other, the effect on the workforce for the shipping and logistics industry has been huge. There are huge delays in the shipping industry at the moment, including delays at ports. With companies trying to protect their staff from the virus, the number of active workers was at a minimum for the last year or so, meaning that shipping containers were less frequently moved and used in the ports and factories they were supposed to. Furthermore, in the UK, with the departure from the EU many of the workers in ports and shipyards, as well as lorry drivers who were immigrants from other European countries, have left to go back home. This means that despite the vaccination programme being successful in the UK, there is still a massive shortage of these workers.  

Additionally, due to factories closing all around the world because of the pandemic, either because of companies liquidating or trying to protect their staff, shipping containers were left unused and out of the supply chain. This has had a lasting knock-on effect of delays in the shipping industry. Deliveries and shipment schedules are now working weeks and even months behind where they should be, which has resulted in an imbalance in the supply and demand of shipping containers. This has resulted in prices of shipping containers soaring to outrageous levels. The price of shipping from Europe to China alone has quadrupled in the last 12 months.  

Measures to Combat the Current Delays in International Shipping 

The UK Government and DVSA have released some measure to try and counter the issue that is currently being faced. They have now made 50,000 HGV tests available at centres across the UK, hoping to increase the number of people that can work in the industry. There is also currently a push to recruit more HGV test examiners to deal with this increase in prospective drivers. These measures are one step towards trying to replace the workforce that was lost after Brexit. There is also a current movement to try and market these jobs to a younger generation, aiming to use a surplus of unemployed individuals to fill the industry gap. There have been no actions taken to address the issues surrounding the shortage of dock workers. These steps are making movement in a positive direction however and could help to get the industry back on track. 

Delays in International Removals and Other Industries 

The effect this has had on other industries has been phenomenal. With the increasingly globalised world that we live in, dependency on other countries for supplies is enormous. The current food shortages in supermarkets are partly due to this loss of labour in important logistics positions, and the rumours that there will be a limited supply of turkeys in the UK this Christmas are not unfounded.  

At John Mason, when we move your belongings across the world, we want to make sure we do it right. The current shortage of shipping containers means it’s difficult to arrange international removals. Reserving these containers now involves a waiting list of what could be months at a time, due to the shortage currently being experienced. With strict restrictions on borders and travel still in place in many countries around the world, coordinating moving shipping containers and people, whilst negotiating quarantine periods and biological security, helping you with your international removal has the potential to be difficult – but that’s not to say it’s impossible. We are still committed to ensuring that you’re the centre of our world when we help you with your international relocation and will endeavour to make the process as smooth as possible.  

In summary, there are certainly difficulties at present with international removals all around the world, caused by both the pandemic and border restrictions, the shortage of shipping containers, and the loss of workforce due to Brexit. However, we are working harder than ever to make sure you can still make your dream move or long-awaited international relocation. Furthermore, with the current actions being taken to remedy the situation, we are confident that it will only get easier from now on to help you move around the world. With careful planning, you can still make the perfect move to your dream country. Contact us for a quote to get started with your international relocation. 

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