Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Don't Let Government Logistics Funding Go Unclaimed Warns Freight Forwarding Outfit

Customs Training Cash to Prepare for Brexit Must be Applied for Immediately
Shipping News Feature

UK – There is definitely a more relaxed mood in the country since the landslide election of a Conservative government, a victory largely based on the premise that at least the spectre of Brexit was about to disappear regardless of individual opinions.

This laissez faire attitude is however seemingly creating a casual air towards many of the essential steps which businesses need to take, at least according to those in the know at the British International Freight Association (BIFA), which is advising its members of the looming deadline by which they can apply for funding from a £16 million grant scheme.

Originally announced by the government in October 2019, the Customs Intermediary Grant scheme represents an additional round of funding for employee training and IT improvements for customs intermediaries, traders and hauliers that make customs declarations to help them prepare ahead of departure from the EU. Robert Keen, director general of BIFA, the trade association for UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, warns:

“Applicants only have until January 17, 2020 to register with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is administering the grants for HMRC, with applications closing on January 31, 2020, or earlier if funding is fully allocated.”

BIFA says the grants could be used to support a business that is extending and taking on new staff, or to help train an existing employee to start completing customs declarations for the company. Training can be delivered by an external provider, or an in-house trainer. Keen goes on to say that there will be increased demand for the customs brokerage services associated with the UK’s departure from the EU.

This will undoubtedly mean the extra work will require increased capacity to handle such a situation arising, regardless of the nature of Britain’s future relationship with the EU. More information on how businesses can apply, and a link to the online application page are available HERE.

Photo: The fear of long queues of trucks and delays to freight due to customs problems still remains in the minds of many business executives concerned with the movement of goods.