Border chaos looms unless new arrangements are clarified

The government must clarify its post-Brexit border arrangements with the EU or else chaotic delays and the knock-on effect on food imports from Europe will be significant, Logistics UK has warned.

With a month to go before new border controls are introduced, the business group said its members remained clueless about how the system would work, thanks to a lack of information from the UK government.

Full border checks kick in on 30 April and pose a major challenge to the movement of many types of food, including meat and fish.

The Cold Chain Federation has already urged the government to mitigate the impact on the supply chain and minimise the threat to the country’s food security.

Nichola Mallon, Logistics UK head of trade, said: “For the past seven years, since the Brexit vote, the logistics industry has been urging government to clarify all the arrangements which will be needed to move goods smoothly across the UK’s border with the EU.

“Yet despite ongoing representations to the government’s departments involved in the new border arrangements, which will see more changes introduced at the end of next month, our members are still in the dark when it comes to critical information about how the new border target operating model is to work.

“We are one month away from the introduction of physical checks on EU imports and government has still not told our members – businesses which move all the food and other goods in the supply chain – what import charges it will apply on every consignment they bring across the border and how this common user charge will be administered.”

Mallon said: “Concerns still remain within our industry about the capabilities and capacity at border control posts to efficiently process these perishable goods.

“These are business-critical issues which will impact the movement of goods across the UK’s borders and, potentially, into stores and homes nationwide.”

The British Retail Consortium estimates around 30% of food consumed in the UK comes from the EU and this includes almost half of the fresh vegetables as well as the majority of fresh fruit sold in this country.

Mallon said information to haulage companies was required in order to prevent empty supermarket shelves:

“Fresh produce cannot be left languishing in vehicles for long periods of time – we need to be able to move it effectively to our customers with as little delay as possible,” she explained.

“Add in the challenge of negotiating traffic jams caused by holiday traffic, and the introduction of the new EU entry and exit System at the Short Straits planned for October, and the risks to supply chains and potential for product shortages in supermarkets becomes very real.”

At the start of the year Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister of state at the Cabinet Office, said: “Our aim is to have border controls which maximise the protection of the UK population from harms such as drugs and animal and human diseases while minimising the disruption to legitimate trade.

“The new UK system being introduced over the course of this year makes a huge stride towards meeting this objective. We have worked with traders and businesses extensively to design the controls and will continue to listen to their feedback.”

Original Article – Border chaos looms unless new arrangements are clarified (

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