Freight and Haulage in the EU: how manufacturing companies & producers are dealing with new challenges and opportunities

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The last few years have seen a series of unprecedented changes in the haulage and freight sector in the UK. Enormous political and logistical challenges and opportunities have arisen as a result of the shifts brought about by events from Brexit to the COVID-19 pandemic, which make supply chains and international freight more important than ever before.

For manufacturers and producers, addressing these challenges means finding the right partners and reliable networks in order to negotiate the new landscape and continue to grow. Now more than ever, expertise in the European markets is vital as the new relationships and ways of working in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic world are constructed.

In this article, we are going to examine the road freight sector in the UK and explore what the main challenges are for manufacturers and producers who want to ship goods to mainland Europe. We’ll explain the most important aspects of haulage and freight forwarding and how to ensure continued business success in European markets.


The impact on Manufacturing Companies & Producers 

Unsurprisingly, international road freight activity in the UK has decreased significantly over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on international logistics services and haulage across the board, and the UK freight sector is no exception. 

Manufacturing companies and producers experienced issues with shipping, good deliveries, missing deliveries, and a general breakdown in the supply chain at multiple stages. The impact of this was far-reaching and significant in terms of cost and time.

In 2021, UK-registered HGVs lifted 5.2 million tonnes of goods, with 2.8 million tonnes imported and 2.4 million tonnes exported. This is a significant decrease of 20% from the 6.6 million tonnes lifted overall in 2020 and an even more marked decrease against the average of 2015 to 2019, which was 8.1 million tonnes.

Understandably, both the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the European Union have had a significant impact on import and export, and these once-in-a-generation events should be taken into account when analysing the situation.

COVID-19’s impact on trade to and from the UK was huge but short-term. The pandemic caused enormous disruption to global supply chains as borders and businesses closed, leading to shortages of goods and materials and delays and disruptions to transportation networks. 

Following the end of the transition period after leaving the EU in January 2021 and the 3rd national lockdown, UK imports and exports fell drastically, below two standard deviations from the average. This pattern continued throughout 2021 despite the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions and the re-establishment of international supply chains. 


Brexit’s impact on trade bureaucracy in Europe 

Leaving the European Union has been a far more complex and evolving process, with impacts that are harder to define. Moving goods to mainland Europe has always come with a raft of complex regulations and policies, from customs procedures to VAT payments, which are time-consuming and costly to navigate. The UK’s departure from the European Union has introduced further layers of bureaucracy and uncertainty, with additional customs declarations and other checks adding delays and costs. 

Despite the increased complexity of trade with Europe, EU countries remain vital partners for import and export. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, the top import countries in 2021 were Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, while the top countries for export were France, Ireland, and Belgium. This demonstrates the continued importance of trade and international road freight between the UK and the EU.


The future of international logistics services

As the UK sector readjusts to the new restrictions and requirements of being outside the EU and recovers from the challenges posed by the pandemic, simple, effective tools to improve efficiency and effectiveness are more important than ever. Taking direct control and streamlining processes is vital for owner-drivers and haulage companies looking to capitalise on opportunities in the coming years. 

TIMOCOM’s freight exchange offers unparalleled functionality and the ability to improve freight management exactly this way. One of the most advanced freight exchanges in the UK, with years of experience dealing with cross-border bureaucracy, TIMOCOM provides access to up to 1 million international freight offers and cargo spaces daily for carriers and forwarders across Europe. 

Improving freight management is made simple thanks to the ability to search for available haulage loads online using a simple interface, quickly find or publish offers, and choose the ideal freight offer or cargo space for goods with one of Europe’s most extensive freight exchanges. 

One of the biggest problems for haulage companies is LTL - less than truckload loads. These smaller deliveries can create inefficiencies or extra expenses, and avoiding LTL as much as possible is a key part of business success. TIMOCOM’s smart freight exchange lets you manage your shipments to ensure you always have full truckloads and improve efficiency and revenue at every opportunity. 

A marketplace like TIMOCOM also gives producers and manufacturers peace of mind thanks to comprehensive vetting and security checks on all clients, as well as the opportunity to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and efficiencies in fleet utilisation.


An EU-wide network of international shipping companies

Of course, continued business success in European markets means renewing and developing robust networks and relationships and, in many cases starting from scratch as the new situation requires. 

This is where TIMOCOM really shines.

Working with TIMOCOM’s freight exchanges means access to their extensive European network of over 50,000 potential international business partners across Europe. TIMOCOM’s Marketplace offers the opportunity to find international carriers, international freight forwarders, and haulage companies across Europe and position yourself perfectly to overcome new hurdles and take advantage of new opportunities. 

TIMOCOM is undeniably the strongest possible partner in European road freight. TIMOCOM gives you a broader perspective of your business due to its strong presence in different European markets such as France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands,  and many more.

In recent years the freight and haulage industry in the UK has undergone seismic shifts. Road freight activity has decreased significantly, and significant challenges have arisen, but with the right tools, these changes can offer huge opportunities.

Tram Trinh Thanh

Marketing Manager Northern Europe

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