“We were told the product would arrive in France, so we set Calais as the entry point. It went to Rotterdam, where it stood for six weeks, ”he said. “Chocolate. Sitting in a warehouse. For six weeks.”
Through a freight forwarder, he managed to drop the import duty. He’s learned a lesson about filling out forms, but that expertise isn’t going to help him much.
“It is impossible to find shippers delivering to Europe,” he said, “because there is an inventory in the pipeline.”
At Coco Caravan, a chocolate maker in the Cotswolds, stasis has seen Europe jump from 15 percent of the company’s sales to zero. This has resulted in Jacques Cop, the owner, disappointing old customers and discouraging new customers. In the past few months, potential buyers in the Netherlands, France and Germany have expressed interest.
“They say,” We found you online and we love everything you do to be ethical and vegan. But how are you going to fight the import-export problem that we will have with the European Union? “Cop said.” We can’t give you a straight answer except, ‘Yes, there is an additional charge.’ “
Mr. Cop also faces a challenge that small UK chocolate makers have in common: importing raw materials from Europe. He stored cocoa from his preferred source in Amsterdam in 2020. Now that it is time to buy more, obstacles have emerged. Transportation costs have doubled, which is bad enough. But Mr Cop says his shipper is refusing to take new orders because he is concerned that a shipment between Amsterdam and the UK will be blocked.
“It’s to the point where I think about renting a Renault van and just driving to the Netherlands myself,” said Cop. “It’s a 10 hour drive at a time. But I’m not sure I have any other choice. “