Practicality remains priority for Brexit planning

Brexit HMRC has said that EU imports will not be subject to extra checks at UK ports in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Credit: Pixabay

Port operators and bodies are standing by their pledge to support trade movement as they responded with caution to the UK's Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) declaration that EU imports will not be subject to extra checks at UK ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The United Kingdom Major Ports Group's Tim Morris said it is important to have realistic plans are in place, but the nature of imports hasn’t changed and new border processes will have to be implemented eventually.

"Ports have been working closely with the Government and agencies on a range of scenarios to keep trade flowing. Whilst no one should be complacent, the ports sector is an adaptable and resilient one,” said Mr Morris. “The time to Brexit is now short and its important that pragmatic and risk based plans are in place. The risk profile of EU goods imported into the UK doesn't change overnight. Clearly, in time, new border processes will need to be implemented."

HMRC updated its no-deal Brexit arrangements for importers or exporters using roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ports or the Channel Tunnel to transport goods between the EU and the UK on February 4.

It stated: “For a temporary period, HMRC will allow most goods moving from the listed ro-ro locations to leave the UK port or train station before you’ve told us that the goods have arrived.”

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, commented: “We welcome any pragmatic measures that will ensure that trade continues to flow as freely as possible at the border and we look forward to a longer-term sustainable solution being found, should it be implemented.”

But he warned that “challenges remain for haulage and wider logistics who will have to comply with extra reporting requirements, including safety and security declarations, however".

An Associated British Ports spokesperson said: "We are committed to working with all the relevant authorities and our industry partners to make sure we can continue to help trade flow and grow after Brexit."

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