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“Like countless other business owners that are based on the UK mainland, but regularly ship to Northern Ireland, I waited with bated breath to run the rule over the Windsor Framework, which was agreed by the UK government and the EU earlier this week.
“Assuming this goes through, the changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol will be hugely beneficial to our business, as well as our customers. First and foremost, the creation of green lanes will save us a substantial amount of time on a monthly basis. Since Brexit, we are required to produce a lot of paperwork that includes considerable data with every consignment, such as tariff codes, net weight, gross weight etc. Despite taking the time to process that information, you’ll often be left liaising with the Trader Support Service (TSS) to reaffirm the data, whilst working against strict deadlines.
“I’d conservatively estimate that, by the time we do the initial paperwork, and then follow up with the TSS, we can spend an extra hour for each consignment to Northern Ireland. To put this into context, if we were to manage 20 consignments to Northern Ireland a month, we would spend an extra three working days on admin.
“These shipments typically consist of just one or two types of plastic pallets or boxes, which is on the simpler side of the scale, but it is still frustrating and time-consuming in equal measure – and I can only imagine the rigmarole other firms have to go through when shipping containers with hundreds of different types of products, such as food suppliers sending trailers to restock supermarkets.
“Therefore, the Windsor Framework will be hugely advantageous to our company. We will now be able to increase our sales to Northern Ireland, which have been negatively impacted by Brexit. As trade increases overall, we also hope that transportation companies using the country’s five commercial ports (Belfast, Larne, Londonderry, Warrenpoint and Coleraine) will need more sustainable plastic pallets too! Finally, we will be able to make considerable time savings, which we can use in other areas – such as staff training, and research and development (R&D).”