AS a ports and logistics provider, DP World is right at the heart of global trade and both London Gateway and Southampton are ready for Brexit. The systems, processes and infrastructure are already in place to handle customs clearance –regardless of a deal or no deal – to to enable customers to continue to move cargo through the UK terminals or store goods on the Logistics Park.
More than 90 per cent of the cargo that DP World’s UK terminals currently handle is non-European.
Almost all of these countries have ‘third country status’ when it comes to trading with the UK. This means that goods arriving from those countries are subject to customs checks.
Through the software and technology that currently exists, DP World and the authorities are able to clear over 90% of the cargo arriving on a ship within about an hour of the vessel arriving in port. The remainder is subject to inspection, of which there are differing types of inspection – from simple seal checks, to full turnouts.
Deep-sea ports like DP World’s London Gateway and Southampton have forged close ties with the inspection authorities to enable customs checks to be carried out as fast as possible. Using a port community system, provided by DP World’s subsidiary company CNS (Community Network Services), users of the ports can push information digitally, alerting other port stakeholders what containers are required for inspection, what containers are cleared for collection and more.
It’s a system that works; it keeps consumers safe by ensuring products meet the required standards, but it’s executed in the most efficient way through streamlined electronic systems.
Containers are ideal for customs clearance
Although many businesses are faced with the uncertainty of whether to change how goods are sourced, whether their supply chains are going to need to adapt or change, container terminals like Southampton and London Gateway are in the ideal place to assist.
Containerised cargo is better suited to customs processes. Containers can be held and stored pending customs clearance unlike driver accompanied roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) traffic. Containers are designed to be stored efficiently and easily while the cargo is waiting customs clearance or other checks.
Shippers are now seeing the potential to switch from Ro-Ro cargo to containers and DP World has the capacity for handling additional containerised cargo.
With more than 8million sq ft of developable space for storage, distribution and manufacturing at DP World London Gateway, providing flexible warehousing is another way DP World can assist UK PLC.
As many UK companies increase their inventories as a contingency for a hard Brexit, there are now concerns about the lack of warehousing capacity in the UK.
At DP World London Gateway, planning permission for warehousing can be granted in less than 28 days, thanks to a Local Development Order drawn up in conjunction with the local authority. An onsite team can manage, deliver and build warehousing quickly to any customers’ specification.
Is there a rail way?
The question, in effect, is can more move between the UK and Europe through the Channel Tunnel?
The UK’s deep-sea ports have capacity to handle additional trains; and with one train capable of removing some 80 trucks from the road, rail could be one way to bypass border delays – with the cargo on a train being customs cleared in much the same way as on a ship.
And there is capacity at DP World’s rail freight terminals. At DP World London Gateway, the port has one of the UK’s longest rail terminals, served by three rail mounted gantry cranes. It has also proven its capability for handling international trains, being the first UK terminal to handle an export rail service to China.
All of the rail facilities are fed by the port’s community network system and have a reliability rate in excess of 98 per cent.
With this supporting infrastructure, designed to facilitate speedy customs clearance and efficient inland deliveries, the potential for more rail freight could be realised.
The customs clearance process explained
At DP World’s UK terminals over 90 per cent of the containers get cleared automatically between 10 minutes and 1 hour after the first box of a vessel has been discharged.
This is possible because the Ocean Carrier has filed a manifest with all its discharge containers with HMRC several days prior to arrival. This happens in DP World’s Port Community System CNS Compass.
The clearance agents can go into this system to ‘claim’ their containers and to ensure they provide all required information including the customs declaration.
HMRC can then decide which containers need further checking and which containers are free to go.
Containers which need further checking are put on ‘hold’ and importers can’t make a truck appointment to pick these containers up until HMRC (and other government bodies like Trading Standards or Port Health) have removed their hold.
DP World has inspection facilities for HMRC, Port Health (often refrigerated cargo) and other government bodies within our UK container terminals and these are used to inspect the contents of containers where this is deemed necessary.
On discharge of the first box from a vessel all containers without holds are automatically cleared and available for collection by road or rail.
Their inspection facilities
DP World London Gateway, has a 200,000 sq ft inspection complex segregated into sections with dedicated refrigerated and freezer chambers and has the space to handle more volume.