Freight Industry Insights February 2024

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Welcome to insights for Freight Industry February 2024

In December, my colleague Peter and I flew into Mumbai to visit the India International Cargo Show, one of the biggest logistics fairs on the Indian subcontinent and where many of our agents from across India were exhibiting. It was the perfect opportunity to meet them under one roof – India is so vast that even with the best logistical ability (and contacts!), we’d struggle to see them all in one week.


The depth of trade both ways between the UK and India is already considerable, but with the impending Free Trade Agreement, levels are expected to increase significantly and quickly. When the FTA negotiations will be completed is still anybody’s guess.

One of the expected key winners of an FTA will be the UK’s automotive industry, a sector with which Espace and our Midlands region have a long and rich history. The International Automotive Technology symposium was held in Pune, India in January and resulted in an influx of enquiries for British businesses – proving the high demand for their world-leading technologies.

Red Sea Map

However, January also saw the suspension of two-year-old trade negotiations between the UK and Canada with both sides refusing to move on issues surrounding cheese and beef. The suspension impacts British exporters way beyond farming though, with British-made cars potentially priced out of the Canadian domestic market due to high import tariffs. Thus highlighting the delicate nature of trade negotiations.

International trade continues to be hampered by the ongoing and escalating Red Sea crisis. A swift resolution seems to be off the cards as tensions heighten between the US and Iran. The Suez Canal is a vital gateway for world trade. As it has been widely reported, shipping lines have diverted vessels around the Cape of Good Hope and will continue to do so until they can guarantee the safe passage of goods through the Red Sea.

Red Sea Map

With three boxes on board, our Worldwide team have been closely monitoring the EBBA Maersk which was forced about in the Red Sea in early January. It is now due to dock a full month after its scheduled arrival in Jebel Ali.

Once safe access to the Red Sea is restored, shipping lines face a difficult few months repositioning vessels and containers, meaning traders can expect hiked prices to continue well into the new financial year.

With issues on the water and prices rising, we have seen many clients revert to airfreight to guarantee the safe and scheduled arrival of their consignments from Asia to the UK and Europe.

The above image demonstrates perfectly how technology has revolutionised the logistics industry over the last ten years. We’re now well used to instant information on the whereabouts of our goods and the UK border is also experiencing its own digital revolution. The deadline to declare exported goods via the Customs Declaration Service instead of CHIEF is fast approaching. We’ve been working hard with our trade association BIFA and HMRC to ensure all parties involved in the cross-border movement of goods will be as least affected as possible. Look out for our “Indispensable 8” guide to CDS exports in the coming week.

The benefits of a digital border are many, not least for Border authorities who will be able to make data-based inspection of consignments and therefore a allow a quicker flow of goods. The need for traders to establish secure digital global supply chains will become apparent over the next few years with the introduction of our own Single Trade Window.

As it’s mid-February, I’ll leave you with my ode to logistics:

A poem

Espace Acquires Westhaven Worldwide Logistics


On 3rd May 2018, Espace acquired the assets and staff of Westhaven Worldwide Logistics (WWL) in Solihull, Birmingham.

WWL are a specialist sea and air freight forwarding company who are members of the world’s largest forwarding partner network, the World Cargo Alliance (WCA). The WCA has 6897 independent freight forwarding members in 190 countries and 817 cities and ports around the world.

The 3 members of WWL’s staff joined the Espace team in Lichfield on Monday 4th  June 2018. Their General Manager, Rob Taylor said, “We’d heard of Espace by reputation. Having now met the whole team, I am very confident that we have made the right choice and that our staff and customers will flourish at Espace.”

WWL researched several potential purchasers in the Midlands but chose Espace predominantly due to its Employee Ownership status and good cultural fit.


Tony Shally, Espace’s MD commented, “This is a great opportunity to get our brand known around the globe via the WCA network. With the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit, diversification into sea and air freight and inheriting a team of specialist global freight forwarding professionals can only further assure the company’s successful future. It was particularly gratifying that we were the purchaser of choice selected by WWL due to our Employee Owned status. “

If you have any sea or air freight shipments, why not give us a call?

10 Tips to make European exporting easy

1. Give some thought into how you package your product to maximise the number of items on a pallet. Build it high if possible to reduce freight charges.

2. Logistics should be an important part of your business. This maybe the only physical interaction with your customer

3. Make sure your website and other channels of marketing are multi-lingual.

4. Setting delivery terms when the product is being sold is a real must. This gives you control over transportation.

5. Sell in GBP to eradicate any currency fluctuations.

6. Insurance should be considered if the goods are important. See our Cargo insurance guide here.

7. Make sure you have researched any local holidays which could delay your delivery and plan according so.

8. Packaging is important, make sure it is well-designed. It will protect your goods; it also helps when trying to sell your product.

9. Double check the delivery address and contact details. Make sure to ask them for specific opening times and for any local delivery restrictions.

10. Consider a Sales agent in your target market.


SOLAS changes – 1st July 2016

Solas blog image


Are you ready for the new “SOLAS” regulations coming in to effect on 1st July? If you’re reading this with a puzzled expression on your face and fear in your heart, don’t worry. It’s fine! This article will explain everything you need to know about “SOLAS” and the upcoming changes. First things first though, “What is SOLAS?”


“SOLAS” stands for the “Safety Of Life At Sea” and the convention first came in to effect in 1914 as a response to the Titanic disaster a few years before. The main aim of the “SOLAS” convention is to act as an authority for maintain the minimum standards required within the construction, equipment and running of ships.


The new regulations mean that we will now require various information from full container load shippers, in order to inform vessel operators of the Verified Gross Mass of the container.  The required information is listed below:


  1. Your details
  2. Container number
  3. Name of authorised signatory
  4. Verified Gross Mass (VGM) per container
  5. Method of weighing
  6. Additional information and/or documents


Given that the carrier will need the information in advance in order to create the vessel stow plan, it is best to provide all information as soon as possible, no later than 24 hours prior to cut-off. Failure to provide an accurate “VGM” in time will not only delay your shipments but could also see you facing additional charges. Although the shipper is responsible for the overall accuracy of the declared “VGM”, they can choose to nominate a 3rd party like Espace to provide the “VGM” on their behalf.  If you choose to sort all this yourself be sure to send over the “VGM” as soon as possible after container loading is complete.


We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the new “SOLAS” regulations and contact your vendors in order to find out how they plan to comply with the new regulations. Please get in touch with any queries or concerns you may have and a member of the Espace Team will be more than happy to help you.


Tony & The Espace Team