January 14, 2021 10:15 AM, EST

DB Schenker Halts Deliveries to UK Due to Brexit Trouble

A freight truck operated by DB Schenker stands at the Port of Helsinki in Finland.A freight truck operated by DB Schenker stands at the Port of Helsinki in Finland. (Ville Mannikko/Bloomberg News)

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DB Schenker, a major logistics company owned by German rail giant Deutsche Bahn AG, suspended deliveries to the U.K. due to “significant” problems caused by post-Brexit red tape.

The company, which has about 76,000 employees in 2,100 locations, “has been forced to put a temporary hold on the acceptance of new consignments for shipment” to the U.K., it said in an emailed statement. DB Schenker said only about 10% of goods it had been commissioned to ship were accompanied with accurate customs forms.

DB Schenker’s decision is the latest example of disruption to cross-border trade following Britain’s exit from the EU’s single market and customs union. On Jan. 8, parcel delivery firm DPD also temporarily suspended deliveries into the EU due to high error rates with new customs forms.


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Trouble with clearing customs has been one of the major early issues of Brexit, with some companies facing dayslong delays to move their goods. Deliveries into the EU from Britain now require customs declarations, and DB Schenker said customers should submit documents such as compliant invoices, proof of origin of their goods and their commodity codes.

“If DB Schenker is struggling with incorrect or incomplete paperwork, what hope is there for small and medium-sized logistics firms?” said Richard Bartlett, a Brexit and trade adviser at Export Unlocked, which helps companies with customs work. “Our sector has been warning for months that customs processes at the border are out of date and too opaque.”

Firms also are grappling with new restrictions, such as having to register to pay value added tax in the EU and filing health certificates to export animal products. Exports of fish have been badly affected by the extra bureaucracy.

DB Schenker USA ranks No. 24 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America. Its parent company, Deutsche Bahn AG, ranks No. 15 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight carriers.

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