Brexit – The Impact on Freight Forwarding

19th April, 2021

After months of negotiations, Great Britain and the European Union finally agreed on a deal that came into place on 1 January 2021. It introduced a custom border between the countries in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and the European Union.

For individuals travel rules changed, impacting health cover, passport requirements and even mobile phone charges. Duty-free shopping returned but with restrictions on the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring home. Immigration rules changed, and those UK citizens wanting to study or live in the EU face different restrictions and requirements.

For businesses, if you want to buy or sell in the EU, you will now need customers declarations similar to those required if dealing with countries elsewhere. Some products, including plants and some foods, will also need special licences and certificates. Some products will require specific labels. There is no question, whatever your political view, that the process has just got more complex for businesses exporting and importing from the EU to the UK. There may not be new taxes to pay but there is new paperwork, with a risk of delay if not completed appropriately.

Stepped Approach

The UK will not be doing most of the checks until June to allow six months for businesses to get used to the paperwork and get processes in place. The EU started checking immediately from 1 January 2021.


The impact on Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders should now be seen as an essential service for any business importing or exporting in the UK. To avoid delays, and to keep cargo moving, it is vital to have the right paperwork completed. Freight Forwarders are experts at doing exactly this and are best placed to support businesses moving cargo. They have the relationships within the supply chain to keep things moving and the software that is needed to communicate with HMRC.


The Magnus Freight Forwarding team ramped up planning for Brexit six months before implementation. “Around August last year we started talking to our clients and putting plans in place for dealing with the new border controls”, explains Matt Hope, Head of Freight. “The process has become more complicated both in Europe and the UK. Putting systems in place, and supporting our clients has been vital to maintaining our high level of service.”

Supporting Clients

“We have focused on supporting our clients, simplifying the language and explaining the process to them”, says Matt, “Because of this we have gained new clients and grown our business, with our reputation of being the professional experts”. Whether the goods are going to a warehouse for storage, or being transported direct to point of sale, the Magnus Group team helps get the items to where they need to be.

Magnus Group Freight Forwarding Team

Matt Hope joined Magnus Group ten months ago. In that time, he has doubled the size of the freight forwarding team, streamlined procedures, and managed the Brexit transition. He is very proud of what his team has achieved. “January and February were crazy, with everyone working silly hours. It was such a learning curve for our clients,” says Matt, “By March most clients had got the hang of it, and whilst we had our record month in freight, it was calmer.”

The next few months

The introduction period ends in June meaning that further restrictions come in on 1 July affecting when paperwork will need to be completed. Magnus is anticipating that clients will need more support at that stage and are already planning the resource and talking to their clients.

31 July 2021 will see the final restrictions introduced.

“We are planning the support needed for our clients both after 1 July and 1 August with the next two changes,” says Matt. “The next few months are going to be exciting at Magnus Group Freight. There are plans to grow the team further, bring in more new clients and I do not doubt that we will manage the next steps of Brexit as brilliantly as the team managed January”.

Why Magnus Group?

If you have goods that are being transported across the world as part of your business, you can benefit from using a Freight Forwarder. Magnus Group is a family business with a team of industry experts heading up each division. We aim to provide transparent, excellent customer service, working in partnership with our clients.

We treat every customer as an individual and tailor our service to suit you. Whether you need FCL (full container load), LCL (less than container load), a roll-on/roll-off service, breakbulk, out of gauge loads or air freight, we specialise in finding the best and most cost-effective solution.

We will look after your shipment from the moment you place your order to its arrival at the final destination.

Our team based in Felixstowe offer Customs brokering, inland clearance and documentation, with strong relationships and connections at all UK ports.

Our expert team has many years of experience in all aspects of Customs Clearance, including the Destin8 system and NES, the National Export System. We make it our priority to submit accurate and timely declarations to Customs on your behalf.

Our long-standing relationships, several over 16 years, reflects our ability to support our clients.

Magnus Group, located in Ipswich and Felixstowe, can help with your freight forwarding, warehousing and haulage requirements.  If you would like to learn more or have a chat, please call us on +44 (0) 1473836600 or email

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