By Laura Kemp •
Published: 13 Jan 2022 • 12:50
Furious HGV drivers stuck in Calais for DAYS in Brexit red tape mayhem. Image:Pixabay
HGV drivers are said to have been stuck for up to two days to get through customs checks in Calais due to Brexit red tape that is affecting deliveries.
Experts are blaming the issue on Government systems as new rules came into force this month.
Imports from the EU have to be processed by HMRC, however, truckers are reporting being unable to get reference codes accepted.
Jon Swallow from logistics company Jordan Freight told The Independent: “We’ve been told by HMRC that they are just too busy to deal with it. These delays are very frustrating and costly for companies.”
Challenges have also been caused by new customs declarations, requiring rules-of-origin documents on goods imported from the European Union to be completed.
One customs consultancy firm director said that a client with 20 lorries full of food products for the UK was stuck for almost two days last week.
Drivers have taken to Twitter to air their anger, with one driver Tweeting that he had been forced to wait for over eight hours “for a f*** bar code,” describing the situation at the port as “mental.”
An unnamed haulage driver told The Independent that he believes almost a quarter of trucks are stuck in Calais due to incorrect paperwork.
They said: “This is a quiet period, and the queues are massive. I’m expecting a lot of delays when things busier in February.”
Large companies such as Honda have also been met with delays. A spokesperson for the company said: “Some teething problems are not unexpected as the UK’s new customs systems come online.”
Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association said of the issues: “If there are trucks held up because they don’t have the right codes it creates a backlog, which is frustrating.”
“Whenever there is a new system, we see people struggle with it at first. There’s friction, but then they adjust.”
Importers are no longer permitted to delay procedures with products coming from Europe that need HMRC approval in the latest stage of the UK’s departure from the EU single market and customs union.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) has been live for over 12 months and is working well with over 15,000 customers using the service.”
“We recognise that the introduction of full customs controls is a significant change for hauliers and traders, which is why we are providing comprehensive support both through the Customs and International Trade helpline and jointly with representative bodies and the border industry.”
“Indications since January 1 are that traders and hauliers are adapting very well to these changes, and where issues are arising, we are working quickly to provide a solution.”
More checks at Border Control Posts on animal and plant-based products are also set to begin in July, with warnings that this will cause further delays.
Peter MacSwiney, who chairs the customs clearance software firm ASM UK, told The Telegraph in December: “The question is whether the Government has got the appetite to hard-nose it.”
“There are some people who obviously have got it worked out. The question is how many others haven’t and what they’re going to do about that on the day because it only needs a few people not to know what they’re doing and be stopped and the port comes to a standstill.”
According to data from the Institute of Directors (IoD) at the end of last year, nearly a third of importers were unprepared for the changes and this lack of awareness will result in further disruption and increased congestion at ports.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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