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How ChannelPorts helped Allensmore Nurseries Blossom

5 min read
Photo of polytunnels at Allensmore Nursery

Simplifying the EU Imports Process

About Allensmore:

In the run up to their 50th Anniversary, Allensmore Nurseries have supplied high quality plants to the best garden retailers across the UK, with a broad customer base made up of key supermarkets, independent garden centres, garden centre groups and leading DIY & grocery multiples. Allensmore work with breeders and high-quality producers across the world to bring their customers the very best new plants on the market; importing from Spain, Italy, Holland and Belgium.

The wholesalers originally started supplying garden centres and florists with house plants. Over the following 20 years, the company evolved alongside accelerating demands from supermarkets beginning to stock plants. Allensmore jumped on this expanding market, developing its own nurseries for growing products in-house. To date, the business has three sites totalling 100 acres of productions, outdoor beds, glass houses and polythene tunnels, growing over five million plants every year.

Fortunately, over the course of the pandemic both Allensmore and wider gardening industry continued to bloom. For the sake of mental wellbeing, people were encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get elbow-deep in the garden for potting, planting and exercising in the fresh air, bringing a new appreciation for the outdoors. Despite temporary closures of garden centres and other retailers, Allensmore continued to stock booming supermarkets. As lockdown eased and garden centres entered the small mix of available shops, the market continued to flourish.

Allensmore have recently invested in new production, packing and dispatch facilities to meet ever-growing plant needs; this is where ChannelPorts comes in.

The challenge:

As well as curating its own produce, Allensmore engages in the trade of seasonal continental goods. In line with seasonal changes Allensmore has a cyclical business strategy. From February to May the business is at its peak time for importing topiary and flowering plants from the likes of Spain and Italy to coincide with pre-season gardening procurement. By the summer, Allensmore move into their own plant production.

Prior to Brexit, all Allensmore’s EU imports would easily float through customs without any need of a customs agent. Comparatively, suppliers further afield in China, Australia and New Zealand already have customs processes in place, organised with other agents. This is still in place when continuing to trade with non-EU countries.

However, as the UK became a 3rd party to the EU following Brexit, new compliance and legislative measures were introduced to trade. This has been accompanied by mass uncertainty for SMEs, with unclear guidelines and the continuation of delayed onset of declarations. The opportunity to push back declarations for another six months inevitably leads to an increase in admin, making it hard for small businesses, like Allensmore, to even know where to begin and hours spent trying to navigate tricky waters.

The solution:

At the beginning of 2021 Allensmore was referred to ChannelPorts and CustomsPro, which has since propelled the business further in their journey to accelerated growth to meet consumer demands. Here’s how:

Offering agile tech solutions

ChannelPorts is a uniquely positioned customs support agent combining over 50 years of experience working in the industry. This arms ChannelPorts with vast knowledge, enabling the team to stay one step ahead and support Allensmore with upcoming legislation changes.

When it comes to optimising business processes, ChannelPorts understand the value of technology. Small businesses, like Allensmore, want to focus on meeting KPIs rather than endure the time-consuming, costly processes of undergoing a full in-house digital transformation to manage ever-changing customs regulations. Instead, by partnering with CustomsPro – ChannelPorts’ digital customs clearance platform – Allensmore can continue to operate without the need to overhaul their business operations to ever-changing customs regulations.

Simplifying the customs process

CustomsPro simplifies the customs process, meaning that customers need very little knowledge on importing and compliance measures. The software provides live data on the clearance status of shipments, with complete history and records of shipments in compliance with HMRC regulations and automatic notification of clearance. It empowers businesses by alleviating admin-heavy lifting whilst ensuring Allensmore remain compliant with ever-evolving legislative changes to trade and customs.

The flexible, cost-effective nature of CustomsPro enhances user-agility. Offering a fixed cost per consignment plan, ChannelPorts can accommodate Allensmore’s cyclical business model in tune with seasonal fluctuations of imports and exports. When continuing to use CustomsPro, Allensmore simply enter the details of plants that require clearing from their commercial invoice. It is then up to us to ensure the correct documents are produced to get the plants ‘cleared’ through the customs process; it’s that straightforward.

Friendly customer support

Acting as a guide from the outset, ChannelPorts helped Allensmore set up its account effectively. In line with ChannelPorts’ time-savvy promise, even the inputting of general background information such as company addresses and contact details are all taken care of by the team. Allensmore described ChannelPorts as extremely helpful, and on hand to respond to queries within just 24 hours via both phone and email. This way, Allensmore no longer had to spend hours manually inputting data, instead turning their attention back to business and vegetation growth.

If you’re an SME who engages in regular trade with the EU, and in need of guidance and clear oversite of the shipment of your goods, get in touch with ChannelPorts today, either on our website, via email or call us on +44 (0)1304 203105.

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