Wine and spirits agency Vindependents has created a France-based warehouse and distribution company as it looks to tackle increased shipping times, paperwork and costs associated with Brexit.

The French company, called Groupage Europe, works with a French haulier who collects pallets from all over Europe and delivers to Vindependents’ bonded warehouse in South-West France.

Vindependents said goods from Europe had been taking “up to six weeks to arrive in the UK and adding around £150 cost per shipment”. Early indication from the firm suggests the new set up has reduced the time to two weeks. 

“We identified early on that the added bureaucracy after leaving the EU was unlikely to be streamlined anytime soon so looked at alternative options to bring wines, particularly from smaller producers, into the UK in a cost-effective way,” the company said.

According to Vindependents, the new system reduces customs paperwork, allows goods to be shipped faster and reduces the cost of customs clearance by 90%. 

Jessica Hutchinson, MD of Vindependents said: “Shipping wines from Europe post Brexit has caused no ends of headaches and problems with orders taking forever to arrive and costs rising all the time. Our new French business, with its warehouse and customs registration, is a neat way of getting around these problems and allows us to deliver wines to our members in good time and at minimal cost.

“I won’t hide the fact that it has been hard to set up, I think everyone can imagine the problems of setting up a business and registering as a bonded warehouse in France, but I’m delighted that the hard work is now paying dividends. It’s great to see lorries leaving the warehouse, knowing they will arrive in the UK bond 3 days later.

Looking forward, Hutchinson said Groupage Europe will offer this service to Vindependents members.

“Eventually we envisage also being able to export shipments to Europe through the warehouse to members’ customers in the EU,” the company said. “Vindependents believes we will be able to halve the financial impact of Brexit on our shipping so members do not need to pass additional costs to their customers.”