MTA 2022-431

The DFDS Cold Chain England team pick up the award from Marc Preedy, MD, truck replacement Europe at Goodyear Dunlop Tyre (second right)


Necessity can often create innovation and for DFDS Cold Chain England that is most certainly the case. The business responded to the challenges of Brexit and Covid with a digital system to integrate its operations with authorities.

To assist clients and allow them to navigate the complexities of post-Brexit trading between the UK and EU, a Custom Clearance and Freight Forwarding operation was set up in Dover. The service started as a paper operation but, in order to meet rapidly increasing demand, DFDS successfully developed a digital system that could easily integrate with customers’ operations and official authorities.

Drawing on the expertise of two senior DFDS professionals who had experience of pre-Common Market trade with Europe, it created an AEO-certified (Authorised Economic Operator) custom clearance system to facilitate customers in having the necessary import and export declarations. Over the course of 2021 a digital system was developed, becoming fully digital in August 2021.

Our judges described it as a “clever and pragmatic development implemented in real-time to address the post-Brexit chaos. It was a strong entry, showing a reactive IT solution to a changing and shifting situation.”

The Custom Clearance has become a sector-leading system to help with navigating the complexities of post-Brexit trading between the UK and EU and has been extended for free to more than 100 importers/exporters. As a result, DFDS has emerged from Brexit with a 10-fold increase in customer numbers.

“I love the metrics – these are impressive,” commented one judge, noting that the vast volumes and speed of delivery were particularly impressive.

“DFDS had the foresight to introduce this solution to aid the speed and add clarity to this process. All companies needed to adapt and flex to the challenges brought about by Brexit and living with Covid. It’s great to see how DFDS has done this and how it worked together to overcome those challenges. Moving to a digital operation will always provide benefits to all parties,” they added.

"Winning this award is all down to teamwork. It's the combination of a lot of people's efforts."

Terry Broadhead, head of customs, DFDS Cold Chain England