As usual during the holiday season I finally managed to read a couple of books and catch up on programmes I had been meaning to watch for a while including a great documentary directed and starring Michael Caine on the Swinging Sixties and the fallout in the early Seventies.

Caine finished with the line ‘Don’t look back in anger, look forward in hope’ and that might well be prescient for these times too.

Of course we now have the detail of the Brexit deal and consequential documents will be quite rightly pored over and debated in the coming weeks and months within the Chamber of Commerce network and also by businesses and politicians across the world.

It is obvious the UK Government and business organisations must publish practical explainers as soon as possible for small and medium sized companies who lack the time and resources to interpret the agreement and what it means personally for them.

What has been clear for some time regardless of whether or not a deal was done was that all businesses which import or export need to have customs declarations paperwork in place.

Companies who trade with the EU require an Economic Operators and Identification number (EORI) to transport goods to and from Europe otherwise their products could be held up at docks as Customs won’t let them through.

Throughout the negotiations we’ve been warning that businesses whatever their size or sector must carefully check the changes they need to make. Worryingly, in a recent British Chambers of Commerce poll, only 10% of those surveyed said they were ‘completely prepared’ for what was coming.

The danger is there may have been a wrong assumption that if a deal was done the volume of customs paperwork would not change significantly.

But the good news is help is at hand. The Chamber network can help business to navigate their way through the new rules and we have been working closely with HMRC to develop ChamberCustoms.

This is a customs advice, training and brokerage service. The National Audit office estimates that customs declarations could rise from the current 55 million a year to approximately 255 million per year from January impacting every business that imports or exports.

EU countries account for just over half of imports into the UK so the volume of checked goods passing through our ports will rise significantly and ChamberCustoms will clear goods for import and export at every port in the UK. I would encourage businesses which trade with the EU to sign up quickly. Government grants are widely available to help with training courses and any IT improvements the new rules might require.

Business organisations must continue to raise awareness among importers and exporters of the need to put in place customs declaration arrangements and the need for an extensive training programme. Thought too should be given to retraining recently unemployed workers with relevant skills to fill the posts required to process the millions of customs declaration documents.

It is now perhaps time to work with pragmatism and determination to make the new UK-EU relationship work and with greater clarity on the terms of trade, businesses can plan, invest, and look once again toward new opportunities.

Despite the challenges ahead there are many international trade opportunities for Scottish businesses but it is essential that communication of what is required is clear, consistent and relentless and that businesses remain well prepared with the paperwork and resources and talent to get their product to market.

Change is coming and as Mr Caine said we all need to look forward, remain positive and be ready.

Richard Muir is deputy chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce