The Week in Trade: A bumpy BTOM landing, renewed Houthi attacks and a UK export boost

Fri 3 May 2024
Posted by: Danielle Keen

After months of anticipation, the second phase of the Border Target Operating Model arrived this week, with some importers struggling to adapt to new costs and requirements. News of significant lorry queues at the border and businesses baulking at the Common User Charge have hit headlines.

We have an ongoing update to bring you the latest news. 

The big picture: A new phase of global shipping disruption could begin, as Houthi rebels attacked a ship in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from previous attack sites in the Red Sea. 

Following the drone strike on the Portuguese-flagged Orion last week (26 April), commentators believe that the group is attempting to thwart ships circumventing the Suez, via the Horn of Africa.

Good week: A good week for Ireland, which the Guardian revealed has raked in €700m in customs duties since Brexit came into force. Compared to 2019, receipts were up 52% in 2021, 80% in 2022 and 72% in 2023. 

Bad week: Bad news for Europe more widely. Already struggling in its efforts to isolate Russia economically, with news of sanctions circumvention, the FT reports that the bloc risks becoming dependent on the country for fertiliser in the same way it was once reliant on Russian gas. 

Customs: Ahead of the introduction of the next phase of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS5), HMRC is running through everything traders need to know in a series of webinars. The next session will be held 15 May, which you can access here

How’s stat: 50%. The value of EU tariffs required to deter sales of imported Chinese EVs. This is according to a recent report by Climate Group Rhodium, which says the EU is only likely to consider 15-30% tariffs.  

Quote: “The worry now is that the expansion of Houthi operations to hit even diverted vessels will affect global trade, putting renewed pressure on prices and the availability of goods.” 

Marco Forgione, speaking after the Indian Ocean attack.

What else we covered: Benjamin Roche covered the Business and Trade Committee’s evidence session on export-led growth, in which trade minister Greg Hands defended the Department for Business and Trade’s record.  

As local election vote counting gets underway, Phil Adnett has worked with our fantastic public affairs team to bring you insight into how council and mayoral elections could shape trade.  

Executive editor William Barns-Graham delivered UKEF’s announcement of an updated strategy to secure UK traders with £12.5bn in contracts by 2029.  

True facts: It was the UK’s privilege to host the world’s largest cargo ship, which docked in the Port of Felixstowe on Tuesday (30 April). 

MSC Loreto is 400m in length and capable of transporting 24,346 standard containers.