Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Freight Handling Concerns as Jersey Cargo Crisis Demonstrates Problems of Ending VAT Scheme

Doubts Over Future of Stevedoring Contract
Shipping News Feature

UK – Doubt remains over the future of cargo handling on the island of Jersey following the liquidation of stevedores George Troy and Sons. Economic Development Minister Senator Alan Maclean has stated that if necessary the Port of Jersey would take on the service until a new operator had been appointed. 98% of Jersey’s freight arrives via the port and Troy was the only stevedoring company on the island.

The past couple of months have seen attempts to remedy a situation which seemingly arose when the UK Government stepped in to stop the anomaly whereby vast quantities of goods have been routed through the island in a hitherto legal loophole which allowed goods to be purchased and shipped without attracting the 20% VAT rate. Despite the efforts of the Unite union to protect dockers jobs the situation appears irredeemable.

Low Value Consignment Relief had meant no VAT was charged on goods valued less than £15, when sent from anywhere outside of the European Union to the UK and Jersey and Guernsey lost in a Court case to determine their eligibility ending the practice from the beginning of last month.

The cessation of the scheme has caused consternation on the islands with doubts over possibly hundreds of jobs and George Troy and Sons twenty plus workers are the most obvious casualties.