Courier firm Speedy Freight said leading national brands are still facing "massive challenges" in moving products six months on from the UK's departure from the EU.

Clients facing the worst delays are those shipping products of animal origins, the company said, with the new, longer sign-off process on both sides of the border creating delays of up to 72 hours for some shipments. Those involved have incurred "massive fines".

Driver shortages remain "the single biggest crisis in the haulage industry", the company said - a situation it blamed on the mass exoxus of European drivers after Brexit and remaining drivers favouring UK-based contracts to avoid potential border delays.

Since January, many businesses have reportedly turned to same day couriers to bridge gaps in the supply chain, with demand up 26%. Speedy Freight has offered support across multiple industries, helping brands to refine their import and export processes.

It said some new clients have sought support with paperwork while others have required a full package including transport and onward travel across Europe. A key focus for wholesalers and manufacturers have been carnet documents to avoid duty charges for goods being manufactured in one country, finished in another, and returned to the original country of origin.

Speedy Freight is now braced for a new wave of issues at the end of the year, it said. The next set of protocol changes is due to begin from October, with a further wave of regulations coming into effect from January through to March 2022.

As part of its dedicated service, Speedy Freight helps clients to identify which changes in regulations will impact their business – providing them with a concise list of changes and recommendations so that each client is prepared for the new procedures, before they come into effect.

Commented Shona Brown, network service manager: “When it comes to changes in policy, our job is to consolidate all the new information and make sure we’re only telling our clients about the changes that are relevant to them. Otherwise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paperwork needed to clear customs.

“Obviously things have improved from the initial changes in January. There was a period when we were receiving daily requests for assistance from drivers stuck at the border – now when issues are only arising, it’s only weekly or monthly. Over 90% of our bookings have moved successfully, with no delays in or out of the EU, and there has been no impact on our wider international movements by sea or air.

“Now that we’re six months down the line, it’s clear that not all of our clients have adjusted to the new rules. Generally, it’s been smaller clients such as SMEs that have had the least trouble as they can be agile in their response to change. It’s the bigger, national brands that are still being caught out as they can be quite set in their ways.”