Breaking: Industry groups: ‘No-deal’ Brexit risks ports and customs checks chaos
With hopes fading for a post-Brexit trade deal, an influential industry group has warned that some British ports will find it “impossible” to carry out their fundamental tasks.
Irrespective of the outcome of protracted post-Brexit trade talks, British ports and customs authorities are required to implement wide-ranging changes to border checks after 45 years of European Union (EU) membership.
However, the impact on the UK ports and borders infrastructure is expected to be much more severe if British and EU negotiators fail to secure a trade deal which places the economic relationship between the two sides on a stable footing.
Appearing before the House of Lords EU goods sub-committee, the leadership of the British Ports Association (BPA) said some ports – and especially the smaller ones – will “not be able to cope” if customs consider all EU fresh foods and produce in the way that non-EU “third country” imports are currently treated.
The warning from the BPA comes in the wake of “chaos” at Britain’s largest container port at Felixstowe, with shipments reportedly delayed and several ships diverted to other ports.
In addition, port operators have complained that a key piece of the government software for haulage operators, designed to improve border processes, is not expected to be launched until a fortnight before the conclusion of the Brexit transition period on December 31.