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How has Brexit affected the UK Timber industry?

Britain’s haulage industry is warning of a crisis in Britain’s trade. After restrictions introduced for Brexit are still continuing to affect imports and exports.


EU Restrictions

Brexit changes came into effect on 1st Jan 2021. There were initial ‘ teething problems’ in the early weeks of the changes. Data showed that UK exports to the EU collapsed by 41%.

However, these initial disruptions in January have extended further. As they are still affecting trade in and out of the UK. Jon Swallow from Jordan Freight commented on the situation. ‘Overnight introduction of a full customs border feels like the country is placing economic sanctions on itself’. These overnight changes included EU-imposed restrictions on imports. Whereas Britain did not impose these restrictions on imports into the UK.

The UK had planned to introduce restrictions on imported food and plants. Yet, this was delayed by 6 months. Because of the economic impact of covid and worries around empty supermarket shelves.


Impact on hauliers

This imbalance in restrictions explains the number of lorries returning to the EU empty. Which has doubled from 20% to approx 40%. Many hauliers have explained they’d rather return with empty lorries. Rather than filling out the forms now needed for imports into the EU. Which have been described as ‘difficult to understand with all the complex rules involved.’

EU lorry drivers are adding around £400 ($550) onto the cost of driving into Britain. Covering themselves if they returned without any goods.


What this means for customers

Before 1st Jan 2021, Britons were free to buy from anywhere within the EU without having to pay import duties and charges. Online orders under £135 will now have UK VAT added at the point of sale. Whereas purchases over £135 will have import/ customs duty, UK VAT, and admin for couriers added to the total price. In some cases, this could mean 40% of the original product price being added on top of extra charges.

Many EU retailers have decided the paperwork for collecting the UK VAT is simply not worth it. These will no longer supply UK customers.



China is the world’s largest importer of wood and in turn the largest exporter of wood-based products. Due to their demand for this raw material, they previously contributed a large amount to illegal logging.

In previous years, 15-30% of the world’s timber was harvested illegally. However, China has now banned the use of illegal timber. This alters the future of precious plants and climate change.

Although, China’s demand for acquiring timber still remains high. This will undoubtedly cause a strain on the legal timber production business. Alongside the shortages during the global coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, we can expect to see further delays with getting timber stock into the UK.

To discuss the implications of Brexit on the timber industry and the supply chain, get in touch at


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