Félix Solís Avantis explores the development of blockchain technology to facilitate wine exports to the UK, after Brexit
Following Brexit, the UK wine industry has seen import costs rise sharply, along with the need to increase working capital, estimated at an extra £300m per week. These “Brexit costs”, combined with the increased duty costs from August 2023, at over £440m per annum, are placing severe financial stresses on the UK wine industry and are costing British consumers more through rising prices, reflecting the wider UK food inflation in February at 18.2%.
Felix Solis Avantis has collaborated with Chainvine and Fujitsu UK & Ireland to test and develop a new solution through blockchain technology called Atamai Freight.
Through the use of QR codes on the trucks and containers that transport the product, it is intended to create an ecosystem of trust that allows different government agencies, customers, producers and consumers to access the key information needed through a secure platform.
For the UK and its main partners, it is essential that the industry quickly explores new solutions that help ensure smoother borders, reducing costs and times associated with increased procedures after the implementation of Brexit. “With this new technology, export times in Spanish wines could be reduced by 25%, helping to reduce the increase that Brexit has meant in the working capital of the total Spanish supply chain by 30 million euros per week,” explains Richard Cochrane, Managing Director Felix Solis UK Ltd.
(Photo:Left Richard Cochrane Felix Solis Avantis, Centre Minister of State of the UK Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Right Oliver Oram Chainvine.)
“The potential to automate the export declaration process will help save an additional million euros per year. The commercial cost of Brexit has a direct impact on both UK consumers and Spanish producers, so it is worth exploring new methods of reducing export costs, given the wider inflation of the food industry,” Cochrane said.
A first test shipment has recently been conducted from the main winery of Félix Solís in Valdepeñas. During the journey, it was possible to monitor the cargo continuously through to its arrival at the Tesco distribution center in the UK. From the pick-up point to the destination, the geolocation of the shipment was shared with each party and the electronic seal also provided a secure seal that transmitted the location and time to all parties if the seal was forcibly cut or removed at any point. All shipping documents have been transported electronically via the access QR code along with the necessary data to allow entry into the UK with full security.
After this first test, Richard Cochrane, held a meeting with the Minister of State of the United Kingdom, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, as well as Oliver Oram, the CEO of Chainvine, and Ian Clark, Fujitsu UK & Ireland’s Chief Digital Officer for Customs and Trade. They explored the initiative in detail and the potential benefits from streamlining customs and border processes. Next steps potentially include scaling up the tests and creating incentives for industry to actively participate, including possible “green lanes” at the port.
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