Government, in the shape of Michael Gove, is warning that businesses and hauliers transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU are urged to ensure they meet necessary requirements before travelling to the border. Government expects that traffic could increase next week and implies that delays in transport crossings may occur.
This seems to recognise that additional red-tape is causing hauliers to scale back their cross-border trips as they grapple with the complexity of the new regulations.
In a recent press release it was announced:
Exporters must provide the right documentation to hauliers, including export declarations and the extra certificates needed for products like plant and animal products, and hauliers heading to Kent must get a negative Covid test and obtain a Kent Access Permit before heading to port, or risk facing a fine and being turned away.
Since the end of the transition period the flow of lorries heading through Kent to the GB-EU border has been low. Over the last week there has been an average of 1584 lorries per day attempting border crossings, which is only around 40% of historical norms. This time last year, we were seeing an average of 4067 lorries crossing the border each day.
Compliance has also been relatively high with around 700 lorries turned away from the border since the end of the transition period – the majority of which were based on the lack of a negative COVID test. We’ve also seen strong compliance with the requirement to obtain a Kent Access Permit with 18,000 issued in total so far.
The combination of low border traffic, and good compliance, has kept disruption at the border to a minimum.
However, we are seeing the volume of HGV traffic steadily increase by around 20% each day. As a result, from next week, we are expecting that volumes will reach their business as usual levels for this time of year, which equates to c. 5000-6000 vehicles per day. This means border and trader readiness is critical. By the fourth week of January, we expect to see around 40,000 trucks heading to France each week.
These increased flows have the potential to cause significant disruption if traders and hauliers have not taken the necessary steps to comply with the new rules.
This has the potential to disrupt supply chains for clients importing, exporting or transporting goods to and from the EU. It will also add further pressure in attempts to weather COVID disruption.