A UK startup has launched a new app to digitalise trade documentation and provide easier access to regulatory information for small British companies.

Just Trade is a software provider specialising in export and import procedures, founded by the people behind Tate Freight Forms, a publisher of export and import information. In a statement, the company says its new app is a “response to a growing demand for clarity over trade regulations”, particularly with Brexit threatening to make customs regulations more complex.

The cloud-based app, it says, “consolidates the multitude of process, information sources and computer systems into one device, streamlining the work of exporters as they prepare customs documents”. From one platform, trade professionals can process orders, carry out export formalities and find information to fulfil international trade compliance obligations.

One way it does this is by providing templates for exporters to complete various international trade documents, including invoices and SITPRO/UN-aligned forms such as the standard shipping note (SSN), dangerous goods note (DGN) and export cargo shipping instructions (ECSI). The exporter can fill them out and then download the document as a PDF or email it straight from the app itself.

Trade professionals will also be able to access information on customs clearance requirements, as the app is linked to content from Tate’s Export Guide – a publication by Tate Freight Forms.

The aim is to help British exporters avoid the severe punishment that could come with having errors in their trade documentation. “Failing to provide the right documents when goods are in transit can be fatally expensive,” Just Trade says. “At best, there will be additional costs of anything up to £1000. Worse, goods can be held up in a port until the correct customs clearance has been achieved. At the very worst, companies can face prosecution”.

Speaking to GTR, Nicholas Tate, Just Trade’s founder and the managing director of Tate Freight Forms, says the firm created the app after seeing a market that did not cater to smaller exporters’ needs. He mentions Exportmaster and i2i as existing export software solutions in the market, but says they offer more features than necessary, are often too expensive and can be cumbersome to install for smaller exporters who want to get up and running quickly.

Referring specifically to software from the two companies, Tate says: “Those are products which take responsibility on ERP [enterprise resource planning] side. We’re not trying to replace an ERP system, we’re trying to give people tools they need to comply with customs. The idea is it shouldn’t be complicated to set this up,” he says, adding that the lower cost and option to cancel at any time with a cloud-based solution offers a flexibility that is particularly suited to smaller exporters.