FPUA’s Response to VBS Changes

FPUA’s Response to VBS Changes

22.12.2020 | PORTS

FPUA's response to VBS Changes

With VBS changes due to go live on 5.1.21, the Felixstowe Port Users’ Association responds to the announcement.


In response to the VBS changes effective from 5th January 2021, Jason Flower, chairman of FPUA and Kevin Lawrenson, category 3 representative of the FPUA have commented as follows:

“We believe the changes outlined regarding the auto-exchange time for VBS bookings, changes to the overnight flexible arrival period; and changes to the tether period will improve the efficiency, availability and reliability of VBS. Collectively, we’re hoping the new procedures should provide a more reliable service to hauliers and shippers using the Port of Felixstowe.

“It’s a positive step that the port’s VBS team will be proactively monitoring the situation for two weeks following the implementation of the changes, and as the port user association we would welcome any constructive feedback from members that we can then pass on.”

For more information about Felixstowe Port Users’ Association visit fpua.co.uk

The Tax Return deadline is looming – but don’t panic

The Tax Return deadline is looming – but don’t panic

23.12.2020 | tax



Andrew Diver explains why there is still plenty of time to get your head around your tax liabilities.


As a result of COVID-19, you may have delayed payment of your July 2020 tax bill to January 2021. Here Head of Tax at Beatons, Andrew Diver, explains when to file, what happens if you delay and how to offset your expenses to avoid overpayment.

Electronic self-assessment personal tax returns for 2019/20 and any tax returns excluded from online filing for 2019/20, must be filed by 31 January 2021 as well as any outstanding self-assessment income tax and class 2 and 4 NIC including the payment on account (POA).

As you head into Christmas, all this extra paperwork might be weighing heavy on your mind – but don’t panic.

There is still plenty of time to get your head around your tax liabilities – and make sure you are not paying above the odds.

It pays to meet deadlines

If you don’t file your return and pay any tax due on time, you’ll face fines.
This starts with an automatic £100 fine from HMRC which is imposed regardless of whether you owe tax or not.
If you fail to file within three months HMRC can then impose an additional £10 daily fine for the next 90 days, increasing the total penalty by £900 to £1,000.
Further penalties are then imposed after six and then 12 months – and these could be based on the amount of tax you owe.
On top of these fines, you’ll be charged interest on any unpaid tax and you could even be flagged as a higher risk for future years by the HMRC.

Keep your tax liability to the minimum

To make sure you are keeping your tax liability to a minimum, bear in mind all the extra things you can use to offset your final sum:
• Claiming expenses – Make sure you claim all of the expenses that are legally available. These might include uniform expenses, tool expenses, and use of the home as an office.
• Car mileage – For use of your own vehicle for business travel you can claim up to 45p per business mile for the first 10,000 miles.
• Pension contributions – If you are a higher rate taxpayer and you have been contributing to a pension scheme then you will be entitled to additional higher rate tax relief – 25% of anything you have paid in as a personal contribution.
• Gifts to charity – Higher rate taxpayers can obtain an extra 25% reduction in their tax liability when they file their tax returns.

No leeway for Covid?

This has been a tough year for everyone, and the government are aware of this.
This is why it announced further COVID-19 support measures on 24th September 2020 as part of the Winter Economic Plan and these included the option to spread the cost of your tax bill for the 2019/20 tax year.
When you have completed your Self-Assessment tax return, you can use the online self-serve ‘Time to Pay’ service to set up a direct debit and pay any tax that is owed in monthly instalments, paid back over up to a 12-month period.
You must meet the following requirements for the 2019/20 tax year:
• no outstanding tax returns
• no other tax debts
• no other HMRC payments set up
• your Self-Assessment tax bill is between £32 and £30,000
• it is no more than 60 days since the tax was due for payment

If your business needs help preparing its tax return visit beatons.co.uk

VKVP Haulage Progresses Fleet Investment Programme

VKVP Haulage Progresses Fleet Investment Programme

23.12.2020 |Haulage

VKVP Progresses Fleet Investment Programme

Haulier reaffirms commitment to its fleet regeneration strategy.



Logistics specialist VKVP Haulage has continued its vehicle-renewal programme with the delivery of 15 used Renault tractor units, reaffirming its commitment to fleet regeneration.

Over the last six months, VKVP Haulage has added Renault T460 6x2s, fulfilled by Renault Truck Commercials in Felixstowe, to its 50 plus multi-marque container operating fleet.

Mark Bennett, operations director, VKVP Haulage, said: “The growth of VKVP Haulage over the last 12 months, in addition to the fuel efficiency and overall vehicle reliability has enabled us to continue our fleet investment programme.”

Tony Willats, VKVP Haulage, transport compliance manager who has been impressed with the vehicle performance, said: “We rate the quality aspect of the used trucks on a range of factors, including stringent manufacturer standard, the origin, the age and mileage of the trucks and the 200-points inspection review on each vehicle. Plus, the guarantee that they’ve been fully maintained with genuine Renault Truck parts.”

Tony continues, “It is important to us that we give our drivers the best working conditions possible and the Renault tractor units give them a high level of comfort. We certainly have their seal of approval.”

The new trucks are based at VKVP Haulage’s head office in Felixstowe.

For more information about VKVP Haulage visit VKVP-haulage.co.uk


The 2020 Remote Revolution

The 2020 Remote Revolution

22.12.2020 | Technology

The 2020 Remote Revolution

It stands to reason that companies with robust technological capabilities are at an advantage now and in the future.

2020 has, without a doubt, been a year like no other. With remote working becoming the norm, the Office of National Statistics confirmed that in April this year 46.6% of people employed did some work at home and of these 86% did so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.*

Often discouraged and considered an opportunity to ‘to take their foot off the pedal’ by companies, employers had no choice but to trust employees to work from home. Online meetings and catch-ups became the everyday way of communicating with customers and clients as COVID overnight changed how we did business.

Fargo Systems director, Steve Collins says: “Interestingly research from the BBC shows that 50 of the biggest UK employers have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time any time soon.** This is a situation that would have been unthinkable less than a year ago.

“However, the positive benefits of remote access working are the cornerstones of our TOPS technology. From our Cloud TOPS platform, which makes it easy for people to connect and work from wherever they are, from TOPS…on the go, TOPS ePOD to TOPS Anywhere. The TOPS Anywhere App provides a solution to the transport operator to easily view information on live jobs to service queries from a customer or a driver perspective.”

To help support the industry during the lockdown period, Fargo Systems decided to suspend TOPS ePOD billing for the quarter of April, May, and June. Steve says: “It was a small gesture to the industry, and we hope that it went some way to assisting companies in tricky times and helped in their transition to a safe and paper-free delivery process.”

He continues: “During these uncertain times what has become apparent is that companies are keener than ever to find smarter ways of working to help their business thrive. It stands to reason that logistics firms with robust technological capabilities, that allows them to move data around the supply chain seamlessly are at an advantage now and in the future.”

Grays based Evolution Connection is one such company. Having come on board as a Fargo Systems client in November 2020, Evolution Connection has invested in TOPS and TOPS…on the go. Ricky Fernando, managing director of Evolution Connection, says: “Covid reinforced our need to invest in a transport management system. Now, we can electronically send delivery instructions, receive status updates, track our vehicles, and seamlessly capture PODS by the camera capture or on-screen signature functionality, both of which upload back to TOPS. We are now the most efficient we’ve ever been.”

Fargo’s logistics software has also been instrumental in helping customers grow their business during these COVID times. TOPS’ user VKVP Haulage has recently expanded its use of Fargo’s technology from nine users to 14. Operations director Mark Bennett explains the advantages TOPS brings to his company: “Since using TOPS transport management system, our operational visibility and efficiency has allowed us to take our business to the next level.

Mark elaborates: “Since implementing TOPS in October 2017, we have been able to develop our fleet investment programme and steadily increase our organisation. We are now in the best position possible and fully prepared to meet industry challenges head-on, now and in the future.”

Steve Collins continues: “Of our long-standing clients, Macintyre Transport epitomises the benefits of remote access technologies and the efficiencies achieved through embracing TOPS.”

Having adopted TOPS 11 years ago, 2019 saw the company roll-out the latest version of TOPS… on the go across its 215 strong fleet. Piers Kilfoyle, operations manager of the Suffolk-based logistics company, explains. “Last year’s roll-out was a six-figure sum investment for us. Our aim was for TOPS…on the go to create a totally paperless process, from start to finish, and to work seamlessly across our five depots. A year on and the technology has exceeded our expectations on every level. We were hoping it was going to be gamechanger, but in today’s global marketplace, it’s a business essential.”

Steve continues: “COVID is going to change our everyday normal for some time to come but looking to the future we’re in a good position. With companies increasingly understanding that remote integration is a ubiquitous component of the logistics sector; our job is to reassure them of the robustness of the technology and how it delivers total transparency, reliability, and confidence to their customers.”

*Office for National Statistics https://bit.ly/3pcdb1A

** BBC News https://bbc.in/3eQ5PvP

For more information about Fargo Systems visit fargosystems.com 

Charity begins at home

Charity begins at home

21.12.2020 | Charity

Charity begins at home

 Whilst Covid has made 2020 a difficult year for everyone, across Felixstowe’s logistics sector the sense of community and supporting others is as strong as ever.


Here’s a couple of the great initiatives undertaken in the run-up to Christmas.

Oh yes you will go to the Panto!

Children at Trimley St Mary Primary School enjoyed a special end of term treat this year, thanks to a live stream of the New Wolsey’s rock n’ roll panto, The Snow Queen; funded by money raised by the Felixstowe Port Users’ Association golf day charity collection back in the summer.

Jason Flower, chairman of the FPUA says: “On the last day of term, the show was beamed into every classroom enabling the children to see a mix of live-action, live music, pre-recorded film and animations in a way that ensured everyone’s safety remained the top priority.”

For more information about Felixstowe Port Users’ Association visit fpua.co.uk

VARTAN keeps little fingers warm this winter

This December compliance specialist, VARTAN, has supported pupils of Langer Primary Academy, which is just a stone’s through from the company’s offices on Langer Road.

Miles Vartan explains: “Just before school broke up last week, we delivered 140 pairs of gloves; a pair for each pupil to ensure they don’t have cold hands over the holidays and on their return to school in the new year.”

Looking to establish a long-term relationship with the school, Miles adds: “We’ve also put plans in place for an art project for early next year.”

For more information about Vartan Compliance Consultancy visit vartanconsultancy.com