Let SILS be your logistics “bridgehead”

Is your UK company experiencing post-Brexit logistics issues in the EU?

6 May 2022

Brexit is still causing serious logistics challenges for UK companies who supply the continent. Goods get stuck at Customs because of a lack of correct documents or customers do not understand why they must pay VAT or Duty before they can take delivery of their orders. It is still overly complex for UK companies to find out which procedures and documents are crucial to transporting their goods to the EU from the now non-EU UK.

The unfortunate result of this checkmate situation? Loss of time, money, client satisfaction and business opportunities for UK firms operating in the EU. This lingering post-Brexit situation has triggered the Dutch logistics company SILS to invite UK companies to move some of their key logistics operations to Holland. SILS offers a large and efficiently run warehouse at Apeldoorn, an hour’s distance from Amsterdam in the centre of the Netherlands. Managed by a team of highly trained and English-speaking logistics experts. In addition, SILS also has a warehouse in Amsterdam. SILS is a flexible, customer-oriented logistics service provider. Flexible in solutions, consistent in professionalism and innovative with integrated logistics services: as well as being fully equipped and certified when it comes to issues regarding customs and fiscal representation.

Logistics bridgehead for UK companies

Early in 2021 SILS asked if I would become their UK account manager, a position I was keen to accept because of the many opportunities I saw for UK companies who were supplying the EU. For some 30 years in the UK, I have been helping companies to meet their logistics challenges with both their wholesale and retail supply chains. My key activity now for SILS is to select, contact and inform UK firms about the many advantages of moving their logistics operations to Holland. And then to guide them in detail when they decide to ‘on board’ with SILS and hand over responsibility for their EU logistics problems. I know both worlds from my own extensive experience: both the UK situation and way of working and the logistics possibilities on the continent. From this perspective I add extra value for my UK clients and through SILS I can function as a logistics and problem-solving “bridgehead” for distribution in the EU.

Crossdocking or warehousing in the Netherlands: two possible answers to your UK logistics challenges  

The two key solutions that SILS offers UK firms are Cross docking or Warehousing.

Cross docking means that your goods arrive at SILS warehouse in Apeldoorn where we deal with the complexities of Customs clearance, payment of any Duty and Fiscal Representation where required. SILS is certified by the Dutch Customs Office to conduct these custom related activities for UK companies and has an expert Customs department. After receiving your cleared goods our SILS crossdocking services in Holland will immediately distribute these goods to the next hub in your logistics chain in the EU – usually by directly delivering to your EU customers. This service is ideal for goods made or finished in the UK or for when it is impractical to hold stock in the EU.

Warehousing means the usual 3PL activities of storage, pick and pack and delivery – as well as the above-mentioned Customs and Fiscal Representation activities. By keeping stock in the EU your distribution throughout Europe will be quick and painless and if you import from non-EU suppliers you will avoid the trap of having to pay triple levels of Duty when you import first to the UK and then sell into the EU.

SILS: your certified fiscal representative

Let me explain a bit more about fiscal representation: if a UK company is making taxable supplies of goods and/or services in the Netherlands, usually it needs to register for VAT purposes. As a certified fiscal representative, SILS takes care of the VAT registration and prepares and submits the VAT returns, the European Sales Listing and Intrastat declarations – if applicable – and can administer the new OSS scheme for selling directly to the public. For Cross docking of orders to EU business clients, it is also possible to use our “Limited Fiscal Representation” which saves having to register for VAT.

All your EU logistics issues solved at the same time

So UK firms handing over their EU supply chain activities to SILS solve many issues at the same time: no more hassle or time lost because of the still confusing rules relating to Customs and VAT, no delay at borders because of the lack of legally correct documents and – above all – no more lost EU customers because of an improperly working logistics model.

Successful examples

Since last year, several UK companies have become convinced of this new method of working. These companies, of various sizes and from completely different product categories, have all handed over their EU logistics operations and given their full trust to SILS. I will not deny that in the beginning this is a complex set of procedures. It means adjustments for everyone involved. However, once all the right parameters have been set, with SILS as their partner there are no longer any limitations for UK companies to fully explore their entrepreneurial possibilities in the EU in the post-Brexit era.

SILS always goes the extra mile for every UK customer

I can also assure interested UK companies that the way of thinking, the way of working and the motivation to realise mutually agreed logistics goals are of the same level in the Netherlands as in the UK. There is no such thing as a cultural barrier between the British and the Dutch in terms of approach and mentality. And what is so important is to have a fluent English-speaking customer service department at SILS together with their continuous determination to always go the extra mile for every customer.

A board room decision

Changing the current way your logistics operations are organised to fully service your EU customers is a big decision. It is almost always a board room matter. Please feel reassured that both SILS and myself are used to advising about and discussing logistics matters at the highest levels.

Does this blog make you want to act now?

Do you want to do away with all the logistics problems in your EU operations? Please feel free to contact me without any obligations. It would be my pleasure to help you become truly Brexit-proof! I also recommend the SILS website: www.sils.nl for a complete overview of all our services.


These are my telephone and email details

t. +44 (0)20 3176 2060
m. +44 (0)790 923 0958
e. r.scrafton@sils.nl

I very much look forward to your enquiries!
Robert Scrafton
UK account manager