The Road Haulage Association has called out Port of Calais president Jean-Marc Puissesseau after he made claims that Port of Calais will not be carrying out any more vehicle checks than are already being carried out, apart from those for food, livestock and migrants, post-Brexit.
Puissesseau claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that Calais was Brexit-ready and the RHA claims that such advice regarding no-checks post Brexit is misleading.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett had a meeting at the Port of Calais, at which “Monsieur Puissesseau made it abundantly clear that when a vehicle arrives at Dover, whether destined for Calais, Dunkirk or Coquelles, if the driver is without their pre-customs declarations or without a permit (if it’s a British driver) or a transit document (if delivering to a different country), they will be rejected.”
And if the correct documents are in possession, which is a whole process in itself, the check could still take up to five minutes. If the declaration is incomplete, the vehicle will be rejected and turned away or need to park up to get the declaration completed.
“With 11 weeks to go until we leave the EU, we have nowhere enough clearing agents with sufficient knowledge to give businesses the help and advice they need,” said Burnett. “British businesses won’t have time to put the processes in place themselves – they simply don’t have the resources,” he warned.
Burnett also highlighted that the customs process has still not been agreed from a French perspective. “They may well be checking trucks, despite Chris Grayling’s belief that this will not be the case. The French customs may well check for clearance documentation at Calais, Dunkirk or Coquelles.
“There may even be checks at Calais to check the export declarations. This has not been clarified but in the event of these checks, there will inevitably be long queues around the Port,” said Burnett.