International Trade Week 2023

Starting today November 6th to November 10th

The UK Government today will again be hosting International Trade Week, a week of webinars and events to promote global trade opportunities for UK businesses to learn more about and take advantage of export opportunities around the world.

What will be on the agenda?

The week will host webinars focused on giving advice on exporting goods to several countries around the globe, from France to Uzbekistan to India. The events will also look into specific industries for the unique challenges and opportunities they face. There will even be a webinar on the CPTPP trade deal which you can learn more about here on EspaceTV.

How do I sign up and find out more?

Registration is now open on the Government Department for Business and Trade website with the full agenda of International Trade Week 2023.

I want to get trading, what next?

Talk to our team who are here to help with all freight needs across the UK, Europe, and worldwide.

Celebrating Indian Independence Day

Celebrating Indian Independence Day

Commemorating History and Trade Opportunities

As a UK freight forwarder, the Espace team take pride in acknowledging significant events that shape global trade relationships.Indian Independence Day is a momentous holiday each year on August 15th which marks India’s liberation from British colonial rule in 1947, ushering in a new era of sovereignty, democracy and economic growth. Beyond its historical significance, Indian Independence Day holds implications for trade between the UK and India, presenting valuable opportunities for exporters.

Major Historical Significance of Indian Independence Day

Indian Independence Day commemorates the hard-fought struggle for freedom led by visionary leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. It symbolises India’s emergence as a modern nation, fostering a spirit of unity, cultural diversity and economic development. This historic milestone paved the way for India to establish itself as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies fully in control of it’s own destiny.

Modern Trade Opportunities

For UK exporters, Indian Independence Day serves as a reminder of the strong trade ties between the two nations. India represents a thriving market of over 1.3 billion consumers, offering vast opportunities across various sectors. As a freight forwarder we see firsthand the UK’s long-standing historical connections and relationships between UK and Indian businesses are already flourishing in Industries such as Automotive, Aerospace, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals.

Bilateral Trade

The celebration of Indian Independence Day underscores the importance of trade relationships between the UK and India. Both countries have been working towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that will reduce barriers to trade, allow freight to move more freely and overall bolster economic cooperation. The UK’s exit from the European Union has further highlighted the need to strengthen ties with non-EU markets, making India an attractive destination for UK exporters to keep growing in the coming decades.

Promoting Further Cultural Understanding

Indian Independence Day also provides a unique opportunity for UK exporters to deepen cultural understanding and foster stronger business with their Indian peers. Demonstrating an appreciation for India’s rich history, culture, and traditions can go a long way in building trust and rapport. By aligning business strategies with cultural sensitivities, UK exporters can tap into the vast potential of the Indian market more effectively and make some good friends along the way.

As we celebrate this momentous occasion, it is crucial to recognise the potential for collaboration, growth, and prosperity that exists between the UK and India. By forging stronger trade ties, stronger friendships and capitali
sing on the evolving economic landscape, UK exporters can unlock the tremendous potential of the Indian market, ensuring mutually beneficial trade relationships for years to come.

Are you trading with India? Find out more about our Indian service

Two New Freeports in Wales

Good news for Welsh traders

Two new freeports in Wales! Taking the UK planned total up to 12.

Today two new freeports have been announced in Wales. Anglesey Freeport and the ‘Celtic Freeport’ including Port Talbot and Milford Haven the Institute of Export & International Trade reports.

This is on top of the 10 freeports already announced.

UK freeport map

At time of writing, only 6 of these freeports are open and operating, being Felixstowe, Liverpool, Plymouth, Teesside, Thames and Solent. East Midlands Airport and Humber freeports are still in development.

How do freeports help UK traders?

For UK traders, there are several advantages to operating within a freeport. One of the most significant benefits is the reduction or elimination of customs duties and taxes on goods that are imported into the zone. This can make importing goods cheaper and more attractive, which in turn can boost your business.

Additionally, freeports often have simplified customs procedures and streamlined regulations, making it easier and quicker for businesses to move goods in and out of the zone. Making life much easier for traders.

All going to plan, this is good news for these communities in Wales. Inevitably, they will bring a boost to these areas as well as opening up new trade options for Welsh businesses.

It may be several years yet till these freeports are up and running effectively. That said, Espace wholeheartedly support investment in these areas, knowing that they will effectively reduce barriers to trade for more UK businesses. 

Take a look at Espace EUroad for exporting into Europe



Exactly Why Are Freight Costs Rising?

Prices continue to go up meaning rising freight costs

Transport and freight costs have been steadily increasing over the past few years and even more so in the last 12 months, leaving many people wondering why. Various factors have contributed to rising transport and freight costs and explore how a freight forwarder can help keep these down. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of why transport and freight costs have increased and what can be done to reduce them.

The main factors

  • Covid – a high demand for transport driven by post-pandemic recovery of economies.
  • Brexit – decreased appetite of EU drivers to come to the UK, additional customs fees, port fees – hassle factor so any EU hauliers that do come want a premium.
  • Drivers Mobility package – implemented to safeguard the working rights of truck drivers in Europe by imposing work, rest and cabotage regimes. Inevitably drivers rates have increased and the rules on rest / monthly breaks will mean fewer drivers available at any one time – hence an increase in rates to cover wages.
  • Fuel increases (a consequence of the War on Ukraine) – energy hikes across the board.
  • Driver shortages – wage pressure from the small pool of professional drivers, lack of desire from the younger generation to begin a driving career.
  • Inflation

The Role of Port Fees in Rising Freight Costs

Port fees are charges that are imposed by port authorities for the use of their facilities and services. The fees cover a variety of costs, including maintenance and operation of the port, as well as security and environmental protection. In recent years since Brexit, port fees have been steadily increasing due to a variety of factors such as increased port traffic, as the UK is using these ports a lot more thus causing an increased demand for services.

We predict we will see a standardisation of port fees across the next few years.

Click here for current port fees.

Government information on port codes

So how does a Freight Forwarder help?

All these factors over the past few years have proven why freight forwarders have a place in the market.

From a practical point of view freight forwarders can reduce costs by providing a range of services that can streamline the process of shipping goods.

These services include helping to negotiate better rates with carriers, consolidating shipments to save on costs, and providing advice on the most efficient way to ship goods. Additionally, freight forwarders can help manage paperwork and customs clearance, which can save time and money

From a knowledge point of view freight forwarders have a deep understanding of the shipping industry, which allows them to provide valuable advice and services to their customers. They have knowledge of the various regulations and laws that govern shipping, even more useful with Brexit and the changes the UK is still getting to grips with.

As well as an understanding of the different carriers and their pricing structures. This market knowledge allows freight forwarders to negotiate better rates with carriers and provide helpful advice on the most efficient way to ship goods. By utilizing a freight forwarder’s market knowledge, businesses can reduce their transport costs while ensuring their goods are shipped safely and on time.

What is happening with the Northern Ireland Protocol?

A red lane and green lane? Brexit finally done? VAT changes?

A lot has happened in the past 48 hours with the Prime Minister looking to reach an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol. This new agreement has been dubbed “The Windsor Framework” but what does this mean for transport and freight?

What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?

The NI Protocol is the trading agreement that was first negotiated during Brexit allowing goods to be transported across the Irish land border – allowing goods to move without the need for customs checks.

However the EU has strict rules for some items on non-EU trade. Thus making it hard to strike a deal.

This special agreement was to keep a level of continuity in trade and to uphold and protect The Good Friday Agreement. Now the UK is looking to change things with agreement from the EU.

Red light, green light

The new plan sets up a green lane and red lane, green for goods only going to Northern Ireland, meaning no checks on the majority of shipments and minimal paperwork. The red lane would be for goods due to travel into the Republic of Ireland or deemed “at risk” of doing so and would face customs checks at NI ports.

Exporters and importers will now need to be registered as a ‘trusted trader’ to use the green lane. All UK-based traders are eligible to apply with HMRC and will need to provide details of any goods they move.

The old way

Goods are checked at ports in NI on arrival, regardless of if they are destined for NI or ROI, then moved to their final destination.

Old Northern Ireland Protocol

The new way

Goods arrive in NI in one of two lanes, Green lane goods for NI only and this will eliminate unnecessary paperwork, checks and duties.
Red lane for ROI and the EU are checked and moved on. Data-sharing and labelling arrangements will keep this system in check.

New Northern Ireland Protocol

A shift in VAT?

Under the old NI Protocol EU VAT rules apply to NI, meaning that any change in UK rules won’t affect NI. Now the UK has “secured full, lasting powers for the UK to set VAT and excise rules in NI. We have done this by removing existing rules and preventing other new EU VAT rules from applying in NI.”

The rules on movement of certain goods have shifted from UK exports to NI. Chilled Lincolnshire sausages are now back on the menu for Northern Ireland. Less restrictions on the movement on such goods we would expect to uptick food freight movement.

Stormont’s say on The Northern Ireland Protocol

Northern Ireland lacks a say in changes in EU rules, whilst being still affected by these rules as part of the Protocol. The changes now seem to be moving towards Stormont having more say and greater input in the future, a new “Stormont Brake” will allow the NI assembly to prevent some EU rules.

A statement from our Commercial Director, Geoff Yates on The Northern Ireland Protocol

“There are so many reasons to be cheerful with the announcement of the newly agreed Northern Ireland Protocol. The financial markets certainly relished it with strong performances reported on the stock exchange on Monday afternoon and Sterling rising rapidly against both the US Dollar and the Euro too.

Brexit is finally done. A full six years after the 2016 referendum an agreement to suit both sides of the separation is certainly welcomed by Northern Ireland.

A good sign of things to come was the sight of the smiling European President, Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, signalling an improvement between the UK and the EU.

In practice, it’s difficult to say what it will mean for the movement of goods from GB to Northern Ireland. The introduction of a “Green lane” for British goods via a trusted trader scheme certainly points to a significant easement but as ever the devil will be in the detail.

From our point of view, at the front line of cross border movements, Mondays announcement regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and improving UK-EU relations was greatly received.”

More information on the government website

Check out EasyEU


COVID-19 – Predicting The Effects on The European Road Freight Market

European road freight market could face 21% drop for the big 5 due to COVID-19

If lock down measures were to continue in the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany for most of 2020, we could experience a drop of over 20% in freight levels for the big 5 European countries.

If the lockdown is relaxed over the summer, we could still be looking at over a 5% fall in the road freight market to and from these countries.

The situation has been made worse by checks at most intra-European border crossings as individual EU states impose movement restrictions. A desire also to repatriate Eastern European drivers to their home states has seen a shortage of equipment in many countries.

Larger European hauliers have been hit hard by the sudden closure of nearly all the OEMs, first and second tier automotive companies in the UK and Europe. Fleets have had to be dramatically rationalised to keep costs in check.

The problem we foresee is with the gradual re-starting of different European economies. Will there be sufficient capacity in the haulage system to cope with spikes in demand at different times and in different countries as their economies start to return to pre COVID-19 levels? Only time will tell.

With our vast database of European hauliers, we are well placed to source trailers at short notice. Send your European enquiries to and we’ll get back to you with a price and availability.