A Race Against The Clock.

Posted on 25 August 2021

Brexit Shipping complexities

A Race Against the Clock: How Zee Helped our Client Avoid a Restock Disaster

The saying “Knowledge is Power” is as relevant today as when it was first uttered 400 years ago. In today’s world, knowledge gives us the power to speed processes up, pre-empt disasters, and even find great solutions to complex problems.

Brexit, for example, has had a significant effect on trade regulations throughout Europe which has been felt by importers worldwide. As a result, many now find themselves drowning in stuck or undeliverable shipments. A dominant contributor to the problem is a lack of vital import and customs knowledge. In the case of Brexit, arming yourself with knowledge can help you to avoid potentially sticky situations.

Nobody can attest to the strength of the statement “knowledge is power” more than our UK-based client who had German customs seize their shipment of air quality monitors valued at over $2000.

The Smallest of Mistakes

If you want to ship into a German FBA center, there are three key details you need to know:  

1. You cannot consign your goods to Amazon.

2. You must have a German VAT registration

3. All paperwork needs to be picture-perfect.

Even the slightest error in compliance and documentary precision can result in a catastrophe, as was the case with our client.  

Located in the UK, the shipper had previously enjoyed free trade in Europe. However, due to this previously held luxury and the resulting lack of knowledge on new customs clearance requirements, our client missed vital points in the shipping process, such as using a UK EORI number. As a result, German customs seized their shipment. Unfortunately, this was only one of the hurdles our customer was yet to face.

A Life-Line Just in Time

After several unsuccessful attempts to clear the shipment, the frustrated shipper turned to Zee for help.  

Thanks to our wealth of experience with German customs, we were fully prepared to offer them the assistance they needed. Once we had taken over the shipment, we began the intricate processes necessary to clear the goods.

Zee took on the challenge, navigating the complex customs processes and dealing with the freight provider and government official on our client’s behalf. Our dedicated team also made sure to keep the client up-to-date with the progress of their shipment.

After two days of back-and-forth, we managed to get the goods cleared through customs and on their way to the Amazon warehouse.  

Unfortunately, this is not where the client’s woes ended, as our client faced another bump in the road. Unbeknown to our client, the carrier they chose (although well-known) did not have a good track record of last-mile delivery.

An E-zee Remedy  

After weeks of waiting for final delivery by the courier, our client’s stock was quickly depleting. Despite having several drop-off times confirmed, their courier continued to fail to get the goods to the Amazon warehouse.

Fearing Amazon’s harsh punishments for delays, our new client once again turned to us in their time of need.  

After much thought, our client decided the best possible way forward would be to import another of the same shipments using Zee in the hopes the stock would be delivered before the client was punished too harshly.  

The now time-sensitive shipment was destined for the same German fulfillment center. Again, Zee sprang into action, arranging all necessary compliance and the best rates possible from a more reliable carrier.  

Within a week of accepting the quote, we safely cleared the goods through German customs.  

Furthermore, the freight company arranged by Zee had already organized delivery of the goods to the warehouse for the very next day, saving our client from completely running out of stock.  

Comparatively, well over a month on, the original shipment remained undelivered.

A Relatable Story  

With e-commerce growing every day, instances of stuck shipments have become a near-daily occurrence. As a key player in resolving these shipments, particularly into Germany, we have found the likely culprit: knowledge.

International trade is a complicated beast, and without expert knowledge and experience, it can also be a dangerous one. It would be unrealistic to expect every businessperson to have this knowledge ready in their arsenal; that’s why having the right partner can make all the difference.  

Although our clients may not have the equipment or power necessary to navigate these stormy seas, Zee does. We are always prepared to help our clients succeed, share our knowledge, and use our experience to make the world of trade a little more e-zee. Learn more!