Prohibitive Brexit-related trade problems solved by new EU fulfilment centre


Continued growth by James and James Fulfilment, a provider of outsourced fulfilment services to online retailers, has resulted in the firm expanding its UK operations and business model into Europe (EU), in order to support clients’ eCommerce trading needs and cross-border expansion requirements in the EU. Since Brexit was introduced in January, trade in Europe has become prohibitive, expensive and complicated for many UK firms that are trying to enter or grow their businesses in that region. Therefore, James and James is announcing that a new EU fulfilment centre in Venlo, the Netherlands is open and operational for eCommerce firms to access, as they strive to tackle that problem, scale and adopt direct-to-consumer (D2C) eCommerce.

James and James strategically selected Venlo for its new EU location because the region is best-known for being one of Europe’s logistics hotspots. If needed, in order to meet heightened customer demand, its new fulfilment centre has the potential to expand quickly for James and James clients too.

Companies that are seeking to expand their brand’s reach, and scale, into Europe will be able to access all of the proven fulfilment expertise that James and James provides customers using its Northampton-based fulfilment centre. This includes James and James’s cloud-based, and award-winning, order management system (OMS), ControlPort, which underpins and manages all of the operations within the centre, as well as its UK and US centres. This typically covers the storage of products; the pick, pack and accurate despatch of online orders (99.999% accuracy; plus on-time shipping); returns management; and accurate inventory management. This enables eCommerce businesses to save time, money, effort and increase conversions as they grow across the UK, Europe and US.


Fast, cost-effective and accurate cross-border trade

What is more, the investment in this EU expansion enables eCommerce retailers to adopt D2C trading more effectively and benefits customers generally in several ways:

  • Improved and more effective cross-border trade: by distributing goods from inside the EU trading bloc in Venlo, James and James’s fulfilment centre can help UK companies develop trading strategies that avoid being hit by VAT charges in the 27 EU member states; improve customs duty management; and reduce potentially lengthy port delays, that have impacted cross-border trade since January 2021.

  • Fast imports with direct trains from China: the Cabooter Rail Terminal in Venlo handles trains directly to and from China, enabling imports that are quicker than by sea and cheaper than by air.

  • Fast shipping to key EU markets, including Belgium, France and Germany: for example, Venlo is within one-hour’s drive of the three main integrator hubs in Brussels, Liege and Cologne.

  • Cheaper shipping rates to EU consumers: with 170 million consumers within a 500km radius of Venlo and 244 million within 1,000km; the new fulfilment centre offers more affordable shipping to retailers.


“Brexit has made trade problematic for UK eCommerce businesses to expand into Europe. They have to manage a whole new array of complex VAT and customs duty management problems. One solution to this problem is to consider setting up a warehouse in the EU for storing high-selling, fast-moving stock. Taking this approach enables retailers to provide faster deliveries and to avoid any potentially damaging duties and higher costs that are often passed onto customers,” says James Hyde, CEO, James and James Fulfilment. “As well as zero customs formalities and declarations to slow things down, having an EU presence also means you don’t have to worry about complex rules of origin to enjoy tariff-free trade. If businesses don’t want to ship goods from the UK, talk to us about getting set up in our Venlo-based fulfilment centre, to benefit from quicker transit times, and as is often the case, cheaper shipping rates.” 

Over the coming months, James and James plans to grow its network of like-minded partners in Europe too; so that it can provide clients with access to the best fulfilment services and advisors to tackle growth in this region. This will likely include international payment providers, customs and tax specialists. The firm is also exploring deeper routes into the US and aims to offer a similar proposition across that region.


Image courtesy of Peter Markesteijn, Markesteijn Fotografie