Davies Turner, the UK’s leading independent freight forwarder, has opened a new, state-of-the-art customs services floor at its regional freight hub at Dartford.
This, together with similar, slightly smaller centres at some of its other UK freight hubs including Avonmouth and Manchester, houses one of the company’s newly created national customs processing teams set up in 2020 in preparation for the end of the Transition Period.
Davies Turner director Alan Williams says that the new development allows the forwarder to increase numbers in the office by 30 percent, whilst still observing Government rules on social distancing, adding: “We have recruited over 30 new people and it will allow us to dramatically scale up the number of customs clearances that we perform.”
The new centre will not only house customs clearance activities but will also include a training suite to increase the number of staff at the forwarding company that have customs processing experience and qualifications.
Davies Turner operates an apprenticeship scheme with entrants spending time in all departments, giving it a skills base that is not permanently assigned to customs clearance duties but that can be tapped into with very little notice meaning it is well placed as a business to deal with the challenges now facing the freight sector.
The Dartford customs suite has been fully partitioned in line with Government Covid guidelines and each booth is fitted with two computer screens to allow staff to check company and HMRC information simultaneously. “This means that they can be more productive – and proactive,” says Williams.
Davies Turner will be able to offer customs clearance services at every UK site and it also plans to offer a 24-hour service.
Williams added: “Despite the fact that the UK and EU agreed a free trade deal, customs clearances have been required for both imports and exports from 1 January, so we have been planning for a major upsurge in activity.”
But, as Williams says, the freight industry is nothing if not adaptable: “At the end of the day, everything is a process. When regulations like C-TPAT in the USA or the Verified Gross Mass rules came in, it was said that everything would grind to a halt, but trade has kept on flowing. It will be the same with customs clearance.”