The European Union should not to underestimate the challenge member states face when preparing their own borders for Brexit, along with the risk of long delays and disruption at European ferry ports, the Freight Transport Association has warned.
“This is not just a UK problem,” Deputy chief executive James Hookham told the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism last week. “It is important that the need to maintain successful trade relationships is recognised as an equal risk for both parties.”
The committee heard that an additional 300 million customs declarations will need to be made in the UK each year, compared to the 90 million declarations which are currently handled by the British customs system. Mr Hookham said each of these would be goods that originated from, or were destined for, somewhere in the EU: “The scale of this [trade] is truly enormous and it is important that all stakeholders comprehend what we are really talking about … Some 185,000 enterprises will be required to make customs declarations and other border checks after Brexit, for the first time in the UK. Eighty per cent of the vehicles that cross the English Channel between France and England are EU-registered vehicles.”
The FTA wants clarification from the EU on three areas: customs arrangements and facilities; the need for vehicle quotas; and the recognition of driver qualifications.
Hookham said immediate action is needed to develop a workable system for the ‘seamless’ transport of goods across the new UK-EU border.