Trucks stranded at checkpoints for four days due to ‘terrible’ new Brexit bureaucracy

Some trucks carrying goods from the EU to the UK were stranded at the border for four days, with logistics officials blaming the disruptions on the new ‘terrible’ Brexit bureaucracy.

Truckers have reported queues of up to eight hours to try to clear customs checks at the French port of Calais, leading to delays in deliveries as companies grapple with new rules that took effect in early January. .

Jon Swallow, who runs logistics company Jordan Freight, said The independent it has had two trucks containing auto parts stranded at customs checks in Felixstowe in the past four days, despite crossing the border into the UK.

The driver was able to leave the port, but the merchandise has been blocked there since Friday. “We just don’t know what the problem is, it’s crazy,” Swallow said. “HMRC told us they were too busy to deal with it. These delays are very frustrating and costly for businesses.

Customs experts said the problems were partly due to the government’s new IT system, which means that all EU imports must be processed using the HMRC-managed Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). Many drivers were unable to get their referral codes accepted.

But companies are also grappling with complex new customs declarations and rules of origin forms that they must complete for products imported from the EU from January 1, 2022.

Steve Cock, a director at customs consultancy The Customs House, said one of his clients had 20 food trucks arriving in the UK stranded in Calais and Rotterdam for around 48 hours at the end of last week due to red tape.

“It’s a bit complicated at the moment, it’s not just the computer system,” he said. The independent. “Not everyone knows exactly what they need for customs declarations and other documents. “

A British driver posted on Twitter that he had been forced to wait in Calais for just over eight hours “for a fucking barcode” and called the queues at the port “mental” since 1 January.

Another trucker, who declined to be named, said The independent He had waited in a queue in Calais for about four hours at the end of last week, forcing him to miss rescheduling another delivery until the next day.

“It’s very frustrating. The Calais inland border park was full of trucks blocked by checkpoints. I see 20-25% of the trucks sent there for further checks due to incorrect documents. It’s a quiet time and the queues are huge. So I expect a lot of delays when things heat up in February.

Michael Szydlo, who runs Quick Declare, an import-export consulting firm, said clients had to spend an entire day exchanging emails with HMRC about trucks waiting at ports.

“There are many issues that show that the GVMS is not ready yet. Many importers will be delayed at some point, ”he said. “There will be a shortage from time to time. The situation must be resolved. “

Japanese auto giant Honda is among the companies affected by delays and blocked parts at the border. “Some initial problems are not unexpected as the new UK customs systems are put in place,” a spokesman said last week. “We are currently reviewing the details behind this. “

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association said he hopes that the “start-up problems” at the border will soon be resolved as companies adapt to the new requirements. “It is uneven. If trucks are stuck because they don’t have the correct codes, then a delay is generated, which is frustrating.

Regarding the problems with the computer system, he added: “Every time there is a new system, we see people who struggle with it at the beginning. There is friction, but then it adjusts. We still don’t know how fast these [drivers and firms] in the EU it will adapt.

The independent HMRC has been contacted for comment.

Dennis Alvarado

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