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New post-Brexit customs rules may cause delays at ports

New post-Brexit customs rules may create significant delays at ports as businesses may be unprepared for the changes. 
New post-Brexit customs rules may cause delays
“Port of Felixstowe Aerial Image” by John Fielding is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

According to the British Frozen Food Federation, the new post-Brexit customs rules on animal and plant products, which are now in effect, may create significant delays at ports since some businesses may be unprepared for the changes. 

Importers may be turned away at the border as of January 1st, 2022 if they do not make full import customs declarations at least four hours before goods arrive at UK borders. Importers will no longer be able to postpone completing the required customs documentation for up to 175 days, as was previously permitted, and all animal and plant-based goods will also require certificates of origin. 

Richard Harrow, Chief Executive of BFFF said: “Whilst the new UK rules will be introduced in stages, we are concerned that not enough planning has been done to ensure the new requirements are understood by everyone in the food supply chain. 

“A good example of this is a new HMRC process called Goods Vehicle Management System (GVMS). The system is designed to enable HMRC to keep a track of loads containing meat and plant products in fast-moving roll-on-roll off ports such as Dover. 

“The system requires haulage companies to pre-lodge the arrival of a load to the UK before it departs from the EU port of embarkation. Whilst many UK hauliers are well prepared for this change, we suspect many EU hauliers are not.” 

“Whilst the UK authorities have said they will not stop vehicles that do not complete all the documents correctly, this assumes the EU port will allow a vehicle without the correct paperwork to leave port.” 

“We are still finding new elements of the process that our members are unaware of or lack of clarity on what they need to do to comply with the regulations. With only days to go before the new rules, we remain concerned that January could be a fraught month for our members.” 

While drivers are required to disclose their goods and provide proof of origin certificates, checks are anticipated to be minimal until the regulations are strengthened in July 2022. Due to the pandemic and businesses claiming that they needed additional time to prepare, the new regulations went into force six months later than intended.

The requirements are included in the Government’s Border Operating Model, which specifies the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit trade agreements with the European Union. 

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