Logistics UK has urged the government to work towards a sustainable solution to post-Brexit import formalities following the announcement that a range of checks on goods coming from the EU have been postponed for a second time.
Sarah Laouadi, head of international policy at Logistics UK, called on the government to guarantee the new timetable will be adhered to, and that the new border control posts “will be in place, with sufficient resources and political commitment to make it credible”.
The delays follow warnings of severe disruption to the supply of food and other products in the lead up to Christmas.
Export Health Certificates, which were due to be brought in on 1 October, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
Physical checks at Border Control Posts, which are currently being constructed at sites across the UK, have been pushed back from 1 January to 1 July, as have Safety and Security declarations.
Meanwhile, the requirement for businesses to pre-notifiy authorities that certain goods are entering the UK from the EU will now begin on 1 January, rather than 1 October.
Customs declarations will begin as planned on 1 January.
Laouadi explained that the trade body’s members had already worked towards two deadlines for the introduction of these formalities, and these extra delays will heap additional work on an industry already working at full stretch.
“The government has rightly identified some of the challenges currently facing the logistics industry, from the lasting impact of the pandemic to increasing maritime transport costs,” she said.
“These, as well as the driver shortage, require vigorous and urgent attention. However, this second change of plan for import controls will add to the uncertainty and creates extra re-adjustment costs for the logistics industry.
“While there is relief in some quarters at the provision of additional time to prepare for new border processes, another deferment will cause instability for businesses already stretched by the impact of Covid-19.
“It also penalises those companies that invested time and money to progress their readiness journey as much as possible; these businesses now need the Government to confirm the last details about border facilities and systems to be able to complete the crucial ‘last mile’ of their journey.
“The UK’s supply chain with the EU is highly interconnected but it will be impossible to convince our European supply chain partners to do their part if the target they are aiming for is constantly changing.”