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Chamber doubles international team


North East England Chamber of Commerce has expanded its International Department with the creation of seven customs clearance specialist roles to support businesses importing and exporting under the new post-Brexit measures.

Alexandra Stocks, who lives in Middlesbrough, has joined the Chamber as International Trade Manager, from British Steel’s Logistics department to head up the team. She will lead the development of the services which include customs declarations and export documentation, global trade advice and growing worldwide business connections.

She said: “There is a national shortage of customs agent provision following the UK leaving the EU. In 2020 it was forecast that there was a shortage of 50,000 customs agents in the UK to support business with the 215 million additional customs declarations required to continue trade with the EU post-Brexit. We set up our expanded customs declaration team to fill this gap and help ensure North East businesses were supported to continue to trade easily. The North East Chamber was established over 200 years ago to help members trade overseas so it is fantastic that we are continuing, and growing, this tradition today.”

One of the Chamber members that is using the Custom Declaration team’s increased capacity and skills set is Thorn Lighting in Spennymoor. Jonathan Winkel from the company said: “In the past, we have used different customs service providers for our import clearances to the UK. Against the backdrop of Brexit and the sharp increase in shipment volumes, we have decided to work with a strong partner to ensure clarity and compliance for us. We have found this strong partner in Chamber Customs.”

Steve Hayers of Thorn Lighting added “It is tremendous to have the customs documentation team on-hand when we are navigating new requirements for EU goods movements.  They have helped us to ensure our goods have been kept moving on time. In summary, they have been a great asset, helping us with import customs clearance.”

The Chamber International Trade team prides itself on making the customs declaration service as streamlined and easy as possible for businesses to avoid any interruptions in trade whilst ensuring a fully compliant service. Sectors which are using the service include automotive, food and manufacturing with clients not just in the EU but all over the globe.

Alexandra Stocks said: “We have had great feedback from our members about our proactive approach to problem-solving, which is supported by British Chamber Customs and their association with Strong & Heard as well as the network of consultants that the Chamber has. This enables us to offer additional support on a variety of subjects including VAT and customs procedures.”

Further information on the ChamberCustoms service can be found on the Chamber website and by emailing