Goods could face post-Brexit delays at UK ports

Industry Database

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that goods being imported into the UK could get stuck at ports and other points of entry for up to three days if British Prime Minister Theresa May does not reach a proper Brexit customs agreement with the European Union.

In its report A Fair Brexit for Consumers: The Customs Roadmap, the organisation, having undertaken research with the International Meat Trade Association (IMTA), said that waiting times of two or three days are likely if no system of controls is put in place after Brexit to ensure that products do not face delays or additional costs when being imported into the country.

The association said that such a waiting time could risk “gaps on shelves” and made recommendations in the report, published on August 30, including investment in IT systems to deliver the Customs Declaration System (CDS) as well as in port capacity and staff, co-ordination between different agencies at ports and borders and access for all companies, particularly SMEs, to Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

Based on estimates from the British government’s customs department, BRC says that annual customs declarations in the UK are predicted to increase from £55m to £255m after March 2019, the date set for Britain to leave the EU.

“Whilst the government has acknowledged the need to avoid a cliff-edge after Brexit day, a customs union in itself won’t solve the problem of delays at ports,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“To ensure supply chains are not disrupted and goods continue to reach the shelves, agreements on security, transit, haulage, drivers, VAT and other checks will be required to get systems ready for March 2019.”

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