Chapman Freeborn blog

Are Brexit and COVID-19 causing air freight delays?

Many people are wondering how the current unstable climate with Brexit and COVID-19 is impacting upon the air freight industry; are there backlogs and delays? Are we seeing any supply chain issues?

We are addressing these points to explain what the current situation is with air freight charter.

How has Brexit changed bureaucracy?

Since Brexit became fully-fledged at the start of 2021, new and complicated customs documentation is required to move freight from Europe to the UK, especially via the road network. The amount of bureaucracy has tripled and has triggered confusion. As a result of this, people are seldom getting the documents right first time, which is creating a significant backlog. This is impacting anything from perishable goods to retail.

The confusion is arising at the border port of entry – such as Calais or Dover, for example. Some retails have temporarily halted all exports to the UK from Europe due to the unclear and vast amount of paperwork. To circumvent the issue of delayed deliveries into the UK, some retailers are halting exports to the British market altogether for the time being, in the hopes that the situation will stabilise soon. This is impacting a range of things including the aforementioned perishable goods, general online shopping and spare parts for the automotive industry.

How is this affecting air freight?

Regulations to fly into the UK changed on 31st December 2020 when the UK’s ties to the EU were cut. Subsequently, aircraft operators are no longer enjoying free movement of aircraft to operate in the UK. Procedures have changed which are causing some challenges while the new process is understood fully but this is by no means stopping air cargo charters taking place. Air charter is a quicker way for deliveries to enter the UK rather than by road.

What about COVID-19?

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is impacting upon air freight. Large aircraft is required for these flights, and the availability of this is very low. This is because there is a very high demand for cargo freight across the world at present, but not enough suitable aircraft to meet the demand. Prior to the pandemic, 30% of cargo flew in the belly of scheduled passenger flights (if you were to fly Heathrow to New York, half of the belly hold would be passenger luggage and the remainder would be cargo), of which there are now a huge lack. A reduction in worldwide scheduled flights as a result of tourism coming to a halt has put increased demand on cargo aircraft.

Undeniably the world of air freight has been turned upside down lately. However, with over 45 years of experience in the air cargo market, Chapman Freeborn is best placed to help you overcome any challenges. We have been successfully transporting cargo throughout the pandemic and continue to do so in the face of Brexit thanks to our experienced brokers and expert knowledge.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.

Call: +44 (0) 1293 839 854