By Allan Leibowitz
European exports to the UK are down
PHOTO: FILM LONDON
UK representatives of the major European materials handling equipment manufacturers are surprisingly tight-lipped about the impact of Brexit on their activities.
None of the majors responded to questioning from Forkliftaction News
, after the first full quarter of post-Brexit trade.
reports that although around half of the EU-UK commerce has been spared from tariffs and quotas, January trade volumes crashed. But even improved February imports figures were down 11.5%.
The German federal statistics office DeStatis notes exports from that country to the UK fell by roughly 30% in January. Germany, of course, is a significant source of equipment for the UK market.
Philip Hyslop, UK area sales manager for the materials handling business unit of Hyundai, notes an overall negative impact since leaving the EU. He points to "small delays" in delivery times of orders, but laments a "significant increase in administration in exporting which has been exacerbated by lack of clarity in customs procedures given to logistics companies as well as ourselves".
Meanwhile, UK exporters seem to be faring better. Henry Stitt, a spokesman for UK plant machinery supplier PHL, says the company "is overcoming the new challenges of exporting forklifts and other equipment to Europe, despite new buffers and difficulties from the aftermath of Brexit".
PHL has been exporting plant equipment for many years, and, as a result, has extensive experience handling international customs documents day-to-day, he explains.
"PHL has delivered to customers despite difficulties in the past, and will continue to do so now, assuring customers that we continue to export to all our international customers worldwide," he says.
Similarly, safety company Pyroban is now providing a shipping option for all its European customers, making the process of transporting forklift trucks for ATEX conversion faster, cheaper and easier.
Transporting forklifts can be difficult to manage, with Brexit making it even harder. Many forklift truck brands manufacture in the EU, such as Germany, so when a customer needs Pyroban explosion protection, they are shipped to the UK for the six-week conversion process. They are then often shipped back to the EU, making the whole logistics process tough to manage.
With a new agreement in place with a global logistics firm, Pyroban says it can now provide a complete transport service for trucks coming from the EU to the UK and then going back again to mainland Europe. All transport paperwork to and from the UK factory is now taken care of by Pyroban, which in the past (before BREXIT) would still have taken a long time for forklift OEMs and dealers.
"We now just quote one price and take care of everything, like an ATEX concierge service", says Virginie Waldron, sales manager for Pyroban in Southern Europe. "We just need to know when and where to pick up and then deliver the truck at a price that will likely be comparable to or less than it would have cost our customers if they were to organise it themselves."