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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Is a Brexit meltdown imminent?

The latest episode in the ongoing sage of incompetence and chaos surrounding Brexit threatens to create a border meltdown for those looking to transport good into and out of the UK.

As the Independent reports, a guide to the mountain of new red tape required to transport goods was promised in early September – but will now not be available in full until 7 December, little more than three weeks before it is needed:

Logistics UK, which represents freights group, warned time is running out to prevent “lorry queues at Dover and empty shelves in Northern Ireland”, when the transition period ends in just 50 days’ time.

“With the economy still reeling from handling the impact of Covid-19, the last thing UK PLC needs is another major shock of our own making,” said Elizabeth de Jong, its director of policy.

Construction of border inspection posts for checks on animal products crossing the Irish Sea “has not yet started and will take up to six months to complete”, she said.

And, on the handbook, Ms de Jong warned: “It is intended to give clear, vital guidance to drivers of all relevant nationalities and hence minimise the length of queues at ports.

MPs were told it had had to be reworked – and a full version, containing documents, maps and a checklist would not be published until 24 days before Brexit is completed.

“It couldn’t answer that fundamental question in sufficient clarity – what documentation and checks do I need?” Ms de Jong told the Commons Brexit committee.

In a warning letter to Michael Gove, she added: “This product must then be translated and circulated to thousands of hauliers across Europe so they can read and understand it, and prepare for 1 January 2021.”

The inquiry also heard how the plan for police to patrol the Kent border to turn away lorries without an “access permit” will have a huge impact on domestic truck drivers as well.

They will be urged to inform the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that they are not heading to the Channel – but the guidance has not yet been made public and it is unclear how the process will work.

You really couldn't make this stuff up.
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