The BFPO system remains fragile and personnel should be encouraged to plan ahead as far as possible. The latest update from BFPO London is as follows:

a.                BFPO initially thought that delays to EU services were all EU Transition related, but they now know that a mixture of CV19 issues and increased network frictions due to the new Worldwide Import Duty Regulations are causing issues across various EU main mail supply networks.

b.               BFPO are not the only service provider who are experiencing delays and it is possible that these issues will work themselves through in the coming weeks. BFPO are looking at a short-term resolution by using a direct DHL service which will see the first batch leaving the UK Wed 13 Jan 21.

c.                 Some UK mail companies are reporting that new mail import/export regulations are having an effect; DPD reporting last week that 20% of parcels they moved to EU locations were now in the process of being returned to sending Countries as they were not compliant with the new regulations.  What does this mean:

(1)          Since 01 January 2021 the new import duty regulations call for more stringent labelling of packages and parcels. 

(2)          Issues could arise when ordering on-line goods from one country for dispatch to another, as companies have not yet established how they will manage the task of producing/applying the additional labelling; indeed some companies could decide it too expensive and difficult to do so and stop providing overseas mail-order deliveries.

(3)          Early indications highlight that BFPO are receiving a large number of items from both private and commercial customers which are not compliant – this will impact service delivery and even if they resolve the current mail conveyance problem, there could still be local customs hurdle to cross with current outstanding mail.

d.            Until the teething problems are resolved and BFPO have had the chance to update the BFPO community, customers may wish to consider the following for the coming weeks:

(1)          Reduce or suspend online buying from the UK as this will only compound the issues and cause a backlog at BFPO London that will need to be cleared later.  SHAPE currently already have 73 boxes awaiting delivery.

(2)          Do not order from UK sites that declare that the current Import/Export labelling will not be provided as parcels maybe returned to sender by customs.

(3)          Seek help from UK relatives to post packages on your behalf by going to the Post Office where the correct labelling and guidance is available.

(4)          Consider using local sites to shop and have goods sent to local addresses.