Brexit: James Withers warns of disruption at borders
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters.Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.You can unsubscribe at any time.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) had claimed deliveries to the EU had “reduced by as much as 68 percent” due to Brexit. The Cabinet Office has hit back at the claims saying it “did not recognise” the figures cited by the trade body.
Bosses at Dover port have also dismissed claims of chaos and delays to shipments to the continent.
They said the “border systems are operating efficiently and customers are quickly getting on their way”.
The port said they were seeing “over 90 percent the freight traffic volumes typical of this time of year following the significant stockpiling experienced before Christmas”.
Chief operations officer Sarah West added new IT systems implemented ahead of the end of the transition period in preparation for the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU were working well.
READ MORE ON OUR BREXIT LIVE BLOG
She said the new infrastructure meant trade was able to “flow smoothly”.
The Cabinet Office added in the week January 20 to February 5, “both outbound and inbound flows (across all UK ports) were close to normal, at 95 percent outbound and 96 percent inbound, in spite of the impact of Covid lockdowns on trade”.
As well as new paperwork due to Brexit, customs chiefs are also dealing with extra workload due to coronavirus.
Any hauliers heading to France must present evidence of a negative Covid test from the 72 hours before they travel.
The demand was introduced by Emmanuel Macron just before Christmas in response to the finding of the Kent variant of Covid.
The requirement of a negative test caused havoc in the days leading up to the festive period with a backlog of thousands of lorries looking to cross the channel.
EU told ‘they must abide by own rules’ in brutal shellfish ban attack [UPDATE]
Brexit POLL: Should Boris scrap Brexit deal and renegotiate EU rules? [VOTE]
Boris Johnson faces Tory revolt over post-Brexit trade deals [INSIGHT]
Following the strong rebuttal from the Cabinet office, the RHA has defended its claim trade has dropped by as much as 86 percent.
It said the figure was taken from a snapshot survey to its members.
Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the RHA, said: “The Government numbers include both UK and European hauliers and cover early February.
“The Government numbers taken at face value indicate that loaded lorry movements have fallen by 41.4 percent on the Dover Straits.
“Using Government’s own (very high) estimate, for every 1,000 lorries leaving the UK pre-Brexit, 70 percent or 700 would have been loaded.
“Post-Brexit, for every 1,000 lorries leaving UK pre-Brexit, there are now 820 lorries (82 percent), and of those 50 percent, or only 410, are loaded.
“The Government’s own numbers show a fall of 41.4 percent in loaded lorries going into France.”
The Cabinet Office said it was “an entirely normal part of freight flows to have empty lorries on the leg from the UK into the EU – this has always been the case”.
Source: Read Full Article