Trade printers benefit from Brexit delays

Will there be a post-Brexit boon for UK trade printers?
Will there be a post-Brexit boon for UK trade printers?

UK trade printers could benefit from an influx of work that would previously have been printed on the continent, as customers look to produce jobs locally to avoid potential delivery delays.

A number of continental players that routinely supply UK customers have had to post service updates following the UK’s last-gasp exit from the EU on 1 January, which has resulted in severe delays to logistics and shipping due to new customs complications. Some continental transport companies have suspended all services to the UK until the situation is resolved.

Sarah Kilcoyne-Guilliam, head of sales and integration at Route 1 Print, commented: “We have definitely seen a shift, clients have turned to us for reassurance instead of overseas suppliers due to what's happening. We're in a fortunate position that we have a really strong team and a great relationship with our couriers, this has helped us achieve over 99% on time delivery since the start of the year and we have continued to launch more and more products on our same day express turnarounds.

“If people and businesses are in a tight spot we want to do everything we can to support to keep the industry moving.”

Grafenia trade print wing Marqetspace has updated the imagery on its website (see below) to highlight that all local orders are printed in “England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland”.

Chief executive Peter Gunning said: “In the UK and Ireland, everything we print for Nettl, partners and Marqetspace clients is made in our own Works Manchester and Works Dublin factories. We’re now supporting third party Works Makers in the four nations – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – and selling their products through our network.”

Gunning said the Brexit complications meant it would now look to manufacture on the continent for its EU customers.

“When France closed the border before Christmas, we had to switch production to local French Works Makers. Since the new year, all the couriers have been piling on new fees and charges. With border delays and these extra costs, it seems we’ll have no choice but continue making products for the EU in the EU,” he stated.

The situation is causing headaches for continental print firms. Germany’s FlyerAlarm has posted a UK service update saying that it will be “unable to provide Express and Overnight delivery services until further notice”.

Saxoprint, also based in Germany, has a similar update, that states: “Even in the current situation, we are continuing to manufacture goods for you as usual. However, due to the pandemic regulations and difficulties in delivering products arising from Brexit, the movement of goods to and from the UK has been severely disrupted.”

One UK Saxoprint customer told Printweek that jobs ordered before Christmas had still not arrived, and it was still unclear this week where the deliveries were.

Vistaprint, part of the giant Cimpress group, has its main European production hub at Venlo in the Netherlands.

On its UK site it has a Brexit update saying that its ‘rush’ two-day delivery option “will be unavailable for the coming weeks”. Sister business Pixart, based in Italy, said that it was also experiencing delays and customers should factor in additional time, although the firm pointed out that delivery was always an estimate and shipping delays were outside its control.

Cimpress also owns Dundee-based Tradeprint and has the option to divert suitable work there.

Managing director Charlene Joss said: “Both Pixart and Vistaprint have a connection to Tradeprint through the MCP (mass customisation platform) to allow work to be immediately diverted should any problems arise so perfect for Brexit Contingency.“

“Right now only Vistaprint route work to us not because of Brexit, but because it makes financial sense to do that from a production and shipping cost perspective,” she added.

The situation is similar at Germany’s Onlineprinters Group, which owns Solopress, based in Southend-on-Sea.

On the Onlineprinters’ UK website it recommends customers should contact Solopress directly, as its own carriers have notified the group that shipments to and from the UK “will be delayed significantly”.

Solopress managing director Simon Cooper said: "We are producing UK orders for Onlineprinters. It works well for them because they get the best of both worlds. I believe the delivery situation will be solved, but the question is when."

This week Bauer Media's Mojo magazine had to distribute its new edition without a cover CD after the CDs became stuck on the continent.