Canal ports can ‘pause’ Brexit border checks
The UK’s top logistics trade body says ports such as Dover could “put a pause” for both traders and tourists this summer as a result of border controls. post-Brexit.
The warnings follow published on Wednesday in a House of Commons report, which has been highly critical of the government’s management of the UK border post-Brexit, accusing it of “over-dealing” and failed to meet his own deadline.
Logistics UK, the trade body, said EU biometric border controls to be introduced this year would cause lengthy delays unless EU and UK authorities work together to solve pressing problems with the new system.
Sarah Laouadi, the organisation’s head of Europe policy, said the upcoming Entry/Exit System could have a “serious impact” on wait times at Channel ports by Dover and Folkestone.
She cites independent modeling that expects queues of up to 29 miles as a result of potential delays caused by the new controls.
“The new EES passport check system needs urgent attention, as it will now require drivers to leave their vehicles and cross direct traffic lanes at ports and train stations to check passports. .
“Not only does this pose a safety risk, but it also has a serious impact on border crossing times and severely affects the flow of traffic on both sides of the Canal,” she said.
The 27-page report from the Commons public accounts committee said the government had promised Brexit would free UK businesses to maximize productivity, but the reality has proven very different since January 2021. .
UK Newsletter after Brexit
Stay on top of the latest developments, post-Brexit, with weekly original insights from our public policy editor Peter Foster and FT senior writers. Sign up here.
Dame Meg Hillier, who chaired the committee, said: “The only detectable impact so far has been increased costs, paperwork and delays at the border. “It’s time for the government to be honest about the issues [of Brexit] rather than raising prices too high.”
William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the report reflects the “life experience” of small businesses. A survey of BCC members last year found that 60% of companies think it has become more difficult to ship goods to the EU.
BCC has set out five areas in which they want the government to improve the Agreement on Trade and Cooperation, including finding additional arrangements with Brussels to simplify the VAT issue and reduce checks on agricultural products.
Bain also repeated warnings about the introduction of the Entry and Exit System. “The risk of external delays to fine movements may persist and must be averted for much time before fall,” he said.
Since January, the government has begun to implement phased new customs controls on goods imported from the EU into the UK. It will conduct further physical checks on imported animal and plant products, starting in July.
The government has promised it will create “the world’s most efficient border” by 2025 as part of a plan to digitize border processes, but the public accounts committee expressed skepticism that the government is on the right track to do it.
The report describes the government’s digital border strategy as “remarkably ambitious” but rates it as “optimistic”, based on current progress. “We do not believe it is underpinned by a blueprint for delivering it,” it added.
The Public Accounts Commission also asked the government to do more to support small and medium-sized businesses that are less able to absorb the new costs of responding to post-Brexit border officials.
Logistics UK expressed concern about the lack of information on the border checkpoints that will open in July and at which checkpoints the products will be processed. “This information will be available now,” added Laouadi.
The government said it believed traders had “adapted well” to the introduction of the new customs controls from January 1, adding that there had been “minimal disruption” at the border. world, with the movement of goods “flowing efficiently” through UK ports.
“We are continuing to ensure that businesses receive the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and seize new opportunities as we do commercial deals with developed markets. fastest in the world,” it added.
The Trade Secrets Bulletin is the FT’s must-read email about the changing face of international trade and globalization. Written by FT trading expert Alan Beattie, it will be delivered to your inbox every Monday. Sign up here