Last year, the people of Britain voted for a British exit from the European Union. This will eventually lead to consequences for the UK trade and economy. Chris Hunt is the Managing Director for Greencarrier Freight Services in the UK. We asked him a few questions about freight forwarding in the UK-Nordic market and his thoughts on trade and the future – now that almost one year has passed since the Brexit referendum.
Hi, Chris! Can you describe the business of freight forwarding in the UK-Nordic market over the past year?
All business sectors prefer constants. When we have stability in the markets, manufacturers can make reliable forecasts and concentrate on their core activity. 2016 gave everything but stability, and we had continued uncertainty with regards to terror threats and border controls, a subdued oil and gas sector, and uncertainty in the Sterling on the currency exchange. That said, Greencarrier Freight Services was slightly ahead of volumes in 2016 versus 2015 on most markets. We also saw more competition in the market in 2016 with oversupply and under demand.
How has the UK-Nordic market changed since the Brexit referendum?
The UK and the Nordic market has been predominantly westbound driven. I think all of the logistic providers are hoping the drop in Sterling ignites an increase in volumes from the UK manufacturers. We have seen huge growth in recent years in our UK-Nordic trade lanes but also in our Scandinavian-Asia trade lanes.
What about customer demand? Does Greencarrier Freight Services have any new services on the UK-Nordic or European market?
Yes, we are always looking for niche markets and finding new ways of providing solutions for our clients. Greencarrier Freight Services now depart from the UK to Sweden and vice versa daily. Our own operators controlling our own trailers offer guaranteed daily service from one kilo to Full Container Loads (FCL) in each direction. This has proved a huge success! We call it our “bus route” as it departs daily providing our clients with faster transit times and guaranteed delivery dates.
We have also opened a new corridor to and from Turkey combining trailer transit and containers or air freight offering our clients different transit times and costings dependant on how urgent the shipments are. Turkey has seen huge growth in infrastructure and manufacturing investment over the last decade and is now the base for many exporters of garments and finished goods.
What are your thoughts on UK trade and the future? Will Brexit have any effect from a market or operational point of view?
With the greatest of respect to Norway and Switzerland, the UK is an island of 65 million people, and when we get to post-Brexit status, we will need an extremely efficient process for the imports and exports passing through our borders to ensure trade isn’t jeopardised. If the UK can agree on trading agreements and if the cross-border process is effective, then the trading volumes may remain intact, but I did mention ‘if’ twice!