Staff at import intermediary MMD Customs Clearance Agents have never been busier thanks to growth in Moroccan clearances by the company.
The firm, which carries out customs clearances at Portsmouth International Port and acts as an intermediary between importers and the UK government, has reported a 37 per cent rise in its contributions to the Portsmouth City Council budget in the last 12 months.
Contributions have increased by 378 per cent since the operation was taken over by Portsmouth City Council in 2009, and in the 2016/17 financial year MMD was responsible for clearing 60 per cent of the UK’s total fresh produce imports declared to Defra.
Much of this recent growth has been driven by an increase in its clearances of Moroccan produce, the company reported. MMD is now responsible for clearing almost 100 per cent of the tomatoes and citrus that arrive in the UK from the North African country.
The banana trade is also very important to the business, which handles imports for major banana importers from South America, the Windward Islands and the Caribbean.
Around 70 per cent of all bananas eaten in the UK arrive at Portsmouth International Port and MMD is responsible for clearing banana imports to all other major mainland UK seaports.
In total the company handles payments and paperwork for 80 per cent of all the bananas that arrive in the UK.
MMD customs agency manager Clayton Green said the firm's growth was acheived thanks to “the vast experience of our employees and their dedication to get the best possible deal for customers.”
He added: “It’s a relatively small team of just seven people, but between us there is over 100 years of experience. I am very proud of them all and their dedication to meeting the needs of the customer.”
MMD advises importers on how to achieve the best duty rates, what documents are needed, and how to clear customs in the most efficient manner possible. It also calculates what taxes need to be paid to HMRC and arranges the necessary documentation needed to clear customs depending on a product’s country of origin.
With the UK government entering negotiations to leave the EU, Clayton Green said staff at MMD were studying developments closely. Exiting the single market could make the company even busier, he thinks.