It is now 28 days since the UK left the EU; what has life been like?
- The UK government predicted that traffic movements between the UK and EU via the Channel crossing would be around 40,000 truck movements. At present, the volume is around 70% of that. In the first two weeks, over 20% of trucks approaching the border were turned back, either due to insufficient documentation or lack of a Covid-19 test. This is now down to around 4%, and these are still split between documents and Covid tests.
- Exports from the UK to Europe have been hit. The volume of empty trailers back to the EU has increased from around 18% to at least 60%. The part load market has been hit the hardest, with many of the big-name European trucking companies restricting their groupage operations in one way or another.
- Community Transit system NCTS continues to have IT issues which have resulted in delayed movements. Many companies are having to increase their T form guarantees as they are inadequate for the volumes now requiring Transit documents.
- There is confusion across the UK and Europe about what is included in the trade and cooperation agreement (EU Trade deal), not helped by the media hyping up “Free” trade deal without making it clear that only goods grown or manufactured in the UK or EU are entitled to duty free admission.
- Operators and customs brokers are faced with a surprising number of shipments lacking basic information on accompanying paperwork. Presently, this is mainly impacting on UK exports to the EU but, as the present customs facilitations are withdrawn, it will impact UK imports too.
- Northern Ireland trade is still subject to a great deal of confusion the TSS (Trader Support Service) and NICTA (Northern Ireland Customs & Trade Academy) are offering free training and webinars, but it is clear there is a lack of understanding within UK and NI trade around the Norther Ireland Protocol. This does not look set to improve in the near future.
- The volumes of customs entries processed by CHIEF has increased dramatically. The Brokerage companies are all working hard to process clearances, but the industry still needs to increase capacity to handle this extra work.