France facing serious shortage of customs brokerage staff ahead of Brexit

Date: Friday, January 18, 2019
Source: Lloyd's Loading List

TLF estimates a need to recruit and rapidly train 1,000 staff that cannot be achieved in time for UK’s planned 29 March exit from EU.

France is facing a serious shortage of customs brokerage personnel as it gears up for a ‘hard’ Brexit and the re-introduction of border controls from 29 March.

A survey carried out by the forwarding branch of the country’s leading freight transport and logistics federation, TLF, estimates that there is a need to recruit and rapidly train 1,000 staff.

A senior official of the trade body said the task was made significantly more difficult by the fact that there were presently no suitably qualified candidates on the French jobs market to take up posts.

This has led to TLF liaising with some of France’s leading training organsiations in the sector, among them Aftral, to request they draw up emergency plans to offer new sandwich course provision to be made available at the earliest possible date. “Aftral currently trains around 70 customs brokers annually and without doubt can increase the number of training places to 200 or 300, but not 1,000,” said Olivier Thouard, president of TLF’s Brexit working group and who is also Customs and Tax director at French logistics company Gefco.

He did not elaborate on how the shortfall in customs brokerage staffing requirements would be made up but did reveal that in anticipation of Brexit, Gefco plans to recruit “several dozens” of staff and open two new customs facilities - one in Lille in northern France and the other in Gennevilliers, in the Paris suburbs. Gefco has also booked training places on courses provided by Aftral that begin at the start of next month, he added.

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