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The European Union flag, which will no longer apply to the UK post-Brexit.

With the impending doom of Brexit, I’m sure there are a lot of questions in the minds of Irish people. One question, however, strikes me as more daunting than the rest. How will I get my obscure YouTuber merchandise delivered to Ireland, if Brexit does end up having a strong impact on our parcel forwarding systems? Parcel Motel and AddressPal are two examples of these which could find themselves in dire straits following Brexit if things go south. In truth, there is no clear-cut answer to that yet.

It is safe to assume that these companies won’t just let their profitable businesses fall to the ground when they play such a crucial part in many of the Irish people’s online shopping routines. They are bound to be working on backup plans, new modes of transport, and even alternative routes when we now know that any kind of import or export will have to go through a whole new bombardment of processes and protocols. So what will shipping companies end up having to deal with?


The ramifications of Brexit on shipping companies

New Opportunities for New Companies:

  • Companies such as Amazon, who in the past have used their United Kingdom domain for both British and Irish purchasing, may now step directly into the Irish market. This may be under the name of Amazon.ie or something similar. The Republic of Ireland has never before been a host to a distribution company of any rivalling scale to that of Europe or the UK. We have always relied on the free European Union shipping rules to thrive under fast delivery times to our remote island, shadowed by our industry-leading neighbours, the United Kindom, and in comparison to the other trade hubs of the EU and Europe. This is not necessarily a bad thing. This will mean that any sort of distribution establishment created post-Brexit will most likely be a top of the range, state of the art system, with precise delivery tracking and more accurate delivery estimates. In fact, it could mean the establishment of new distribution companies more locally, meaning some things will actually be delivered faster. On the other hand, it might be a similar situation to Dublin Bus where it didn’t start off as efficient as it is today. A bit of trial and error perhaps.
Amazon logo.
Irish consumers could benefit from the creation of an Irish branch of Amazon.

Business (sort of) as usual?

  • AddressPal has operations in America, it could just mean that we’re going to see slightly larger prices on our shipping orders, and longer delivery times too. There will be new taxation and duty charges on everything. Because it wasn’t there before, that is what made these 3rd party delivery systems so effective and popular in Ireland. It could end up being the case that these efficiency changes in speed and price will be… less appealing. You’ll still get your online order one way or another, so don’t worry about that. It may just have had a little more of an experience travelling by the time it reaches you than it would today. So yes, rest assured, your day to day delivery experience won’t change too much once you’ve ordered and paid.
AddressPal usage could either go up or down.

Ireland’s Impact Worldwide in Trade

  • We’ve been a small shadow in the trade industry (outside of food) in comparison to Britain. Maybe now this opens up doors to a new trade hub, in the EU, closer to America, with a whole new demand for trade and shipping. If done correctly, companies could definitely create beneficial opportunities worldwide now that they have no other choice. The investment should prove profitable in the future for the Irish economy and for overseas delivery relationships in the long run. Imagine our little emerald isle as a beacon of trade at some stage in the future. That being said, even if that doesn’t come to pass, Ireland will always remain a potential key stop along the line to America.

Demand for Delivery will Increase:

  • Given the unique situation Britain has found itself in and the scale of the potential backlash, it is strongly estimated that domestic shipping will actually increase by a significant amount. That is, both inside and outside of the UK. This means there will be a much higher demand for packaging, size of shipments, and frequency of shipments in the EU and UK. A PayPal survey conducted earlier this year shows that Ireland is right towards the top of 32 developed markets worldwide for demand in online shopping. This implies more emphasis on delivery in the future, despite the rise in cost. This, in turn, should help speed up the delivery process in due time, as the routes become more travelled and the system adapts and improves to the new environment.

Will Brexit be that bad for Irish consumers who shop online?

All things considered, this all doesn’t look too bad on paper. Unfortunately, shipping costs are expected to be at least 30% higher and could potentially rise by as much as 40%. This is because of items costing more than around £15 having VAT on them as high as 20% of the total price. This, when combined with the new (and longer than before) wait times as everything is inspected and documented isn’t very appealing.

A massive aspect and prerequisite for predicting what will happen lies with one simple question.

Will it be a hard Brexit or not?

A hard Brexit implies the worst for value in the delivery business. More taxes and more processes will cause longer wait times. This, in turn, will significantly weaken the economy for a period of time due to all of the previously mentioned potential implications of Britain leaving the EU. But perhaps, in the long run, it could indirectly improve the system in place today as we mentioned previously. However, a softer Brexit may still cause significant changes to how parcel forwarding systems operate in the Republic of Ireland. Admittedly, maybe not quite to the same extent as the scary prospect of the huge amount of potential processes a shipment may have to undergo to reach us from Britain. I think it is safe to assume that regardless of how strong Brexit may turn out to be in the end, changes will happen to the current systems in place that could, potentially, open up new opportunities for us.

All in all, it’s extremely difficult to tell how it will all go down. Only time will tell how exactly things will play out, and only time will tell whether or not your YouTube merch or your new pet rock can be safely delivered at a reasonable time. It is purely up to how things develop and how companies will evolve and adapt to this new delivery market environment. But don’t worry, online shopping isn’t going to leave any time soon. In 2017, just about 70% of Irish people said in a survey conducted by PwC that they have shopped at Amazon within the past year. This is quite a bit higher than the global average but significantly lower than the UK average at 90%. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that any effect Brexit will have on Irish parcel forwarding systems will only be a step towards further efficiency and a truly Irish distribution market in the future. The number of Irish people availing of online shopping has only been estimated to grow for 2018, and despite these potential setbacks, should continue to rise in popularity in the following years.

So, fingers crossed for Amazon.ie everybody!

Post Author: Evin Kierans

Musician, tech enthusiast, gamer, journalist and web designer