UK's wide range of trading partners may soften impact of a no-deal Brexit
Britain’s wide range of trade relationships may insulate it from some fallout from a no-deal ...
Hauliers and forwarders believe that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government’s simplified customs process will make no difference to the threat of delays at the Dover crossing.
HMRC noted yesterday that its Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) for customs “will make importing easier for an initial period of one year, should we leave the EU without a deal, to allow businesses time to prepare for usual import processes”.
It said: “Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties.”
But the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it was “not enough”.
Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It appears a positive step, but the sheer scale of the issue means there is simply not enough time for businesses to get ready to leave the EU.
“This is just one part of the Brexit jigsaw, with the French having still not defined their export process.
“How on earth can businesses make the necessary arrangements and plan for the future when still in the dark as to how the processes on both sides of the Channel will work?”
Other industry sources noted that unless the flows on both inbound and outbound goods were smooth, there would be congestion, and lorries from the EU would not want to come to the UK in case they couldn’t leave quickly again.
Mr Burnett said, despite “constant and incessant calls” from the RHA for clarity around the proposals, HMRC had not been “forthcoming”. And one source told The Loadstar that, in his assessment, the proposed measures appeared designed to assist only the shipper.
“There is nothing in there about helping the forwarders and the people that actually move the freight,” said one source. “It is very much geared around the shippers; in fact, I couldn’t find anything suggesting the forwarder was even allowed to apply to use the procedures.”
Under the proposal, imports of EU goods into the UK would be declared prior to the ferry arriving in Dover – although the specifics of where this would take place are vague.
Vehicles would then be free to pass through the port without examination, unless required to participate in the random selection process, requiring physical examination.
Chairman of Agency Sector Management Peter MacSwiney seemed optimistic over the proposals, but said there were still questions on how they would work in practice.
“These plans, on paper at least, would reduce the number of vehicles reporting to Customs at the frontier to (hopefully) manageable levels,” he said. “But there’s also questions over UK-EU exports requiring an entry summary declaration, as is the case for all third-country goods entering the EU by any mode of transport.
“That declaration is normally made by the carrier, but current information from HMRC suggests that this will apply to ro-ro goods from the UK also.”
However, Mr Burnett did not share Mr MacSwiney’s optimism, condemning the government for failing to provide full visibility and complete clarity on how the scheme would work.
He added: “Through no fault of its own the haulage and logistics industry is still not ready for a no-deal, no-transition Brexit in less than seven weeks.”
To find out more about Brexit and the supply chain, come to The Loadstar Live’s one-day seminar at TOC Europe in Rotterdam, on June 19th. More details soon …