EU to UK Shipping Challenges & Solutions

Posted on April 27th, 2021

As many of you will be aware, the first quarter of 2021 has seen innumerable delays with items shipping from the EU into the UK. With Brexit came the increased demand of new rules and requirements for importing goods, which would be handled by a logistics and customs workforce that had been badly affected by the pandemic. An overwhelmed workforce has led to slow communications, while backed up systems have led to technical errors such as inaccurate shipping trackers. From our observations, the main bottleneck has occurred at UK Customs, where a pallet may be held for more than a month without feedback. And as it currently stands, freight companies and customs are still working things out. 

We understand all too well the urgent need for coffee bags showing up on time at your roastery. In essence, our freight partners are an extension of our company: they are the final hands touching your coffee and are part of your customer experience. We hope this situation will improve soon, but unfortunately we don’t have an exact roadmap from carriers and customs on when things will begin to run more efficiently. We are working diligently to see what we can do to ensure timely delivery. 

In light of these challenges, we have taken steps to improve the shipping experience:

  • We have researched alternative routes and carriers 
  • We have chosen not to work with certain providers that haven’t been able to communicate effectively with us during these challenging times
  • We have found that shipping bulk to the UK gets through customs much faster than single pallets; until further notice there will be a monthly truck headed to the UK with confirmed purchases (further info below) 
  • We hired a logistics support for the office to help guide you through the transit times

And we would recommend that you consider the following to benefit you and your business:

  • Place orders with as much further notice as you can to allow for potential delays
  • Ask your Sales rep if you can put your next order on our monthly ‘UK Truck’ to ensure smoother, more predictable shipping
  • At the end of each month we will be sending a container by truck to the UK
  • The truck will carry a collection of UK customer orders 
  • This will pass through UK Customs much faster as it is a bulk container.
  • The container will be unloaded at Vollers UK warehouse where it will then be shipped to you
  • Estimated 7-10 working days from warehouse departure to your roastery

To put your orders in the next container, please let us know by the 20th of every month.

We are aware that with a monthly truck your order may still take a month from order to receipt. However we are excited to offer a clear and predictable timeframe to work with. 

*Please note that you can still have your coffee shipped separately if so desired

We care about the arrival time of your pallets and want to see coffee moving easily to the UK again. Will continue to observe the shipping situation and update you on further developments.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Sales rep or the CIE team. Thank you for your continued partnership with Cafe Imports Europe!