October 31st is coming, and officials announced there will be border delays even in the 'best-case' no-deal Brexit. Freight association head has declared "post Brexit" situation hasn't been debated enough. The government expects border delays even in its "reasonable best case" assessment of what could happen after a no-deal Brexit, according to the former official in charge of overseeing border contingency planning.
Karen Wheeler, the ex general director for border coordination, declared that the "flow rate" of trucks exporting goods to the EU via Calais could drop to 40-60%.She also said the government predicted 20% of the 10,000 trucks that pass through the port of Dover daily, may not have the necessary documents that France will require after Brexit.
James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, said massive delays are not expected for imports, as the government declared there will not be border custom checks immediately after Brexit. In the same time, the export picture is not very clear, as the situation regarding the borders in France still needs to be decided.
When Hookham was asked about his opinion regarding the extra funds the Treasury put to their disposal, he declared "While that funding is helpful, there are still many, many issues that the government needs to resolve and sign off about the actual border procedures because in communicating what businesses need to do, we need to be in possession of the complete picture. At the moment, there are several really important missing parts of the overall picture that we just need to get some clarity on."
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said it will be pretty rough for the industry to face a no-deal Brexit, as October itself represents a challenging month for all the retailers. Another concern would be regarding the fact that there are more import regulations they would have to deal with. For example, it is imperative to transport food items on a heat treated pallet, but the supplies are quite limited. He also admitted to being a little bit concerned regarding the movement of goods between UK and Republic of Ireland, as the Irish government said they will implement all custom border checks from day one after Brexit.
Asked about the government's plans for import checks, Wheeler rejected the suggestion that a delay to implementing full customs checks the day after Brexit would amount to a "smugglers' charter", but said: "Because the processes wouldn't be 100% initially, clearly there would be some potential issues of people getting away with not getting customs documentation."
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