Palletways has suspended its operations to Europe until 25 January, but other pallet networks confirmed this week that their deliveries to the continent will continue.

A Palletways email, seen by, warns customers that it will not be taking orders, adding: “No entry of Brexit consignments will work on the portal until 25 January.”

Asked what had caused the problem, Palletways MD Rob Gittins said the company could not comment as its parent company, Imperial Logistics, was in a closed period.

Other pallet networks told MT this week that they have experienced trading difficulties but have not suspended operations.

Pall-Ex group chief executive officer Kevin Buchanan said: “We have not had to suspend services but it has been tough, especially with deliveries to southern Ireland as customers were just not prepared, which is not surprising since the deal was not signed off until Christmas time when people had switched off.”

Read more

Buchanan said the situation was exacerbated by “sketchy” advice from government in the first week and a lack of customs resources “especially for southern Ireland.”

Buchanan also expressed surprise at how unprepared for Brexit some large customers were.

“It is staggering that some substantially large businesses were completely oblivious to the fact that Brexit would mean you have to go through customs clearance and pay a charge,” he said.

He added: “Britain was just not prepared for Brexit and the way the Tory government has handled this has been an unmitigated disaster. It has cost us time and money to prepare for a hard Brexit. But who will compensate us?”

Paul Sanders, chairman of the Pallet Network Association, said that all members had struggled with delays but only Palletways had suspended services to Europe to date.

“Everyone is getting major problems with the government’s computer systems and it hasn’t got any better,” he said.

“The problem lies with the HMRC system which generates the release note which has not been tested correctly. HMRC has given a workaround with a generic code but that has not always been publicised.

“We think customs wasn’t informed correctly and did not know what to do. It is hard to believe the system was not tested before launch. That would not happen in the business world.”