It’s been a while since the new Brexit information came to light, so I took this chance to catch up with our MD in regards to the new information:
How are you viewing Brexit deadline of October 31st?
At the moment, we’re looking at this with a sense of urgency and we’re at more risk than in the run up to March. Main difference is that this will also coincide with the inevitable Christmas rush and associated increase in stocks.
Can you explain how Brexit has impacted the business to date?
January to March was like for like volumes as they were up by 23percent. This was no good news as we had to bring in very high cost resources to cover, meaning the uplifted volume was all done on a lossmaking basis and we had to bring back empties from Ireland at significant cost.
From April to the 2nd week in June overall business was down by 20percent on previous year, this didn’t cause so many issues as we were able to shed resource and there were no empties coming from Ireland. It’s not just to Ireland that impact was felt. EG:
- On our part, business is very busy January to March and then declines in April
- Our full load business to/from Scotland was again very busy January to March and very quiet between April and may due to stocking up and then destocking
What is your prediction in what will happen going forward?
For July and August, I expect to be at normal levels of work, the demand will rapidly increase in late August for the next 10 weeks. There will be stocking up but possibly of a different nature, I suspect there will be significant storage of product on trailers. A number of our customers have already asked us to price this up, one other thing that is clear is that these trailers will not be allowed to sit at port.
What other problems might stocking up cause?
A significant number of European drivers have now gone home post the last 2 months downturn therefore driver shortage may intensify September and October. We have tried to limit risk here by paying our drivers a Christmas bonus. Warehouse space will be in even shorter supply, hired trailers will become difficult to get. Likewise shipping spaces especially into Belfast from England, weather events are more likely September to December.
Any increase in demand to Ireland will not be met with similar demand ex Ireland which means costs will significantly increase.