The border chaos just before Christmas has cost the transport industry millions and left hundreds of lorry drivers effectively paralysed. It is a rational business decision that many freight forwarders now avoid routes to the UK and are monitoring how the new border situation develops.
Unfortunately, the UK Government has not done much to convince the transport sector that they have the situation at the border under control. From this point onwards it will only get worse.
The numbers of freight forwarders who currently decline routes to the UK are dramatic and will have an impact on our supply chain situation in the weeks ahead. Cargo from Germany and France to Britain is still down by over 50%. Government needs to step up now and explain how this is going to be resolved.
EU freight carriers and their customers also need more guidance on how specific new customs rules work, especially with domestic deliveries across the Irish sea. The guidance provided by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is not good enough.
The new UK customs code says that EU companies cannot file import declarations and require an agent to do this. With a lack of at least 20,000 customs agents in the UK, it is not particularly reassuring for freight carriers that the new customs border will run frictionless once capacity increases. We need updated guidance from HMRC on how this particular issue will be handled.