Our April Update

Kukla Beverage Logistics April Update


The logistics world is having to change. Brexit and the global pandemic has created unprecedented operational challenges to the UK freight forwarding industry. The effect of this has adversely impacted lead-times, collections and deliveries.

Kukla are managing these changes. Despite the increased levels of pressure that has seen severe delays and congestion at various European ports of exit, Kukla are at the forefront of navigating our customers orders through these difficult times.

European road hauliers, our key operational partners, are facing extra costs caused by time-delays due to the increased amount of paperwork and detail required, on both export and import routes. This is resulting in a significant number of owner-drivers and UK groupage haulage companies rejecting groupage export orders to the EU. The knock-on effect is a shortage of quality equipment. Kukla need this to manage and handle our client’s orders with the necessary physical care and attention required in the transportation of beverages.

The effects are being felt across the entire UK and Europe. The problem is industry-wide. There is currently less flexibility of movement and supply of quality equipment for loading is limited.

It is important for all importers and exporters to recognise this. In the short to medium-term there will be disruptions to supply chains. The main factors behind this are:

  • a post-Brexit combination of additional paperwork and bureaucracy
  • greater scrutiny from HMRC and EU Customs
  • an increased demand for Covid tests for drivers entering and leaving the UK.
  • Pressure on EU exit ports as demand continues to increases on container equipment

Notwithstanding these difficulties, Kukla are sourcing alternative means of collections to support, widen and underpin our operations. We are reviewing and taking the following actions:

  • using local European operators and ‘hub’ depots for consolidations
  • developing new partnerships with additional local European container operators and continental hauliers
  • our supply chain operations are being supplemented with local loadings for groupage in more depots across the EU regions
  • onward rail routings from these hub-depots with full containerised groupage loadings to EU port of exits.
  • onward full container loadings to UK depots or direct deliveries to UK destinations.

As an industry, we have been forced to adapt. Regular collection/delivery patterns for groupage orders from the EU, are not what we have been used to, where collection ‘week 1, delivery ‘week 2’ was standard.

Generally, from Europe once collection is made in ‘week one’, we are achieving ‘week three to four but remain fluid’ delivery.

These are not indicative of the typical transit times from Europe that we have been used to in the last 40 years.

Kukla are working with our customers and their suppliers to manage this volatile and difficult period as well as it can be undertaken.

We do not envisage that this current situation and the challenges mentioned here will ease any time soon. The next few months will continue to be difficult.

We are making progress. Our proactive approach, by engaging with more operator partners from Europe is showing results.

We are investing in more staff. In June we will be moving our UK Head Office to bigger premises to accommodate them. Our staff numbers have already grown by in the last twelve months.  

We realise and appreciate the understanding and patience shown by our customers.

Although unwelcome and costly, our advice for this year at least and especially the key ‘pinch-points’ of summer cellar closures and Q4 pre-Xmas, is to create a short-term stockpile to carry your business through this period.

Our commitment remains:

  • maintain and respect realistic transit times during an unprecedented background of volatile equipment availability
  • full focus on the importance of accuracy of information detailed on supplier’s export and UK import forms
  • managing the needs of our growing business by increasing our team numbers in our Customs Division at Folkestone and Operational teams at Upminster
  • a move to larger premises in June to house the growth in personnel at Upminster
  • Upgrading our system of order reporting to enhance regular update reports for our clients.
  • Supporting our customers – continual processes reviews, asking questions, making changes