Company News ShipMyCar History

Latest Chapter – Brexit and 2020

Brexit and 2020

“While the UK is on lockdown from Coronavirus measures, I thought I would take a look back through the history of our company. I hope all of our clients, staff, friends and families are well and stay safe during these difficult times”

Nick Roach – Company Director

The decision by the UK to leave the EU created a lot of uncertainty.

When dealing with international payments and clients making high-value purchases, uncertainty in global markets is the last thing you want.

What a crazy year 2019 was

Uncertainty rattles the foreign exchange markets and it certainly did on 23rd June 2016 when sterling fell 19% in value. Where one pound could buy us $1.49 the night before, it could now only manage $1.37, with it continuing to fall below $1.20

This made paying for invoices in USD much more expensive which meant we had to increase our prices.

It also had the immediate action of putting doubt in people’s minds “should I really be thinking about spending £x on a Corvette right now”

However, for us, things remained fairly busy for a while, the real slowdown happened later on when the risk of a no-deal Brexit became a possibility. This really did affect things and the whole market slowed right down.

Brexit delay after delay meant we had to really work hard to keep costs down and shipments coming in. Then on 31st Jan 2020, the UK left the European Union.

Following that, things became busy again, really busy.

GBP had recovered somewhat trading at over $1.30/£ and people had started to get going with those overseas car purchases.

This was 2020, and it seemed like this was going to be an exceptional year. February proved to be one of our busiest months for over a year, but cases of a new virus coming from China (you may have heard of it) started to appear in the UK. This was worrying.

Shipments that were booked started to cancel, corporate relocations to the UK ceased and overseas car purchases put on hold. The car shipping tap turned off again.

On March 23rd, Boris Johnson announced the UK lockdown. We were going to have to shut the doors temporarily and spend 24/7 with the children. This just got real.

We made the decision to furlough our staff. At that point we could not guarantee we could keep everyone safe in the office / workshop environment and so it was the right and only thing to do.

UK logistics had to keep moving, containers arriving at sea ports had to be moved otherwise the backlog would create delays for more essential goods passing through the supply chains.

Myself and Kingsley took it in turns to visit the warehouse, along with our latest member of staff who could not be furloughed, in order to keep things ticking over until the day we could re-open the doors.

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that all good stories come full circle, and these last couple of months we have indeed come full circle in our working life.

If you recall in Chapter 1 this all started from us valeting cars, and here we are again valeting cars (and unloading containers).

Being hands-on again with the processes has actually been quite enjoyable, but nothing else in regards to Coronavirus has been.

We have found ourselves in very unfamiliar times, everything has changed.

Luckily for us logistics have largely continued and car shipping has remained steady, albeit at a lot lower volume, throughout the last couple of months.

Our office environment has changed from a peaceful open plan setting, to a kitchen surface, a fold-up camping chair, and even a bouncy castle.

Assumed silence for important calls has changed to the ever-present threat of a “DAAAADDY!” or the screams of children squabbling over the last chocolate button.

Working around home-schooling and having to physically be in the office to unload containers has been very difficult. Thankfully over the years we have always invested in IT, with in-house CRM systems and remote working setup which means that in reality very little has changed to our operational processes. We are still able to provide our usual high level of customer service which is so important to us.

I am amazed every day with how well children have adjusted to this ‘new normal’, they quickly adjusted their expectations and came up with many new and innovative ways to entertain themselves.

Schools quickly adapted and now utilise all kinds of different media to provide an ongoing education to our children.

From a business perspective this is how we have to see things, we have to adapt and move forward, in order to make the most of this terrible situation we have all been thrown into. We must develop new processes to make sure we can safely and effectively provide our usual service.

Firstly we had to make sure the staff returning would be as safe as possible. This was the most important thing for us and so we spent time putting new processes in place to ensure this.

We now look to ways in which we can continue to work in this contactless world, to increase the safety of how vehicles arrive and leave our premises to make sure everyone involved can feel secure and confident doing so.

Periods of remote working may become more common so we are investing in a Gigabit connection to our facility, from a customer point of view we aim for remote working to be as seamless as if you called us in the office, and so far this is working very well.

On the 11th May we re-opened our workshops and have office staff in full operation both in the office and remotely. Our services across the world are still moving, cars are being purchased, trucked and shipped all as before.

There are some delays with UK government testing and registration but even there we are starting to see things slowly returning to usual in some capacity. These delays have meant our workshops are busier than ever as containers do not stop arriving!

We have had lots of exciting new possibilites open up with new routes and shared container lines meaning a more competitive offering to clients looking to ship.

I don’t think there is anybody in the world who hasn’t been affected by Covid-19 in some way, and our sincere condolences go out to anybody who has lost a loved one through this horrible disease.

Having seen the incredible efforts of keyworkers and NHS staff who have been keeping things going and keeping us safe, plus the amazing community spirit the UK has, I am sure things will get back to normal at some point, but from all of us at ShipMyCar we wish you all the best.