Brexit border chaos in Kent

Brexit border chaos in Kent

SEVINGTON: Lengthy checks for lorries entering the UK at Dover Photo credit: CC/Tim Sheerman-Chase

Netherlands lorry drivers could start turning down UK jobs owing to unreasonably long holdups at border inspection posts.

Transport en Logistiek Nederland (TLN), an association that represents 5,000 Dutch haulage companies, reported waits of more than four hours on reaching Britain.

Some drivers said they had been delayed for up to 20 hours owing to the post-Brexit checks on plant and animal products that came into force on April 30.

Elmer de Bruin, TLN’s International Affairs manager, said the facilities on the British side of the Channel “left a lot to be desired” as most of the inspections were carried out at facilities which offered only water, with no chance of finding coffee, let alone a meal.

Nor are the holdups limited to Netherlands lorries, the Guardian learnt. An Italian lorry driver who had been delayed at the Sevington border post for 55 hours was advised to walk to MacDonald’s, more than 1.5 kilometres away, if he wanted to eat.

In a four-page document setting out drivers’ experiences that was shown to the Guardian, TLN said hauliers have warned that unless conditions improve, drivers will no longer want to come to the UK.

Inspections are carried out in locations adjoining ports that include Killingholme, near Grimsby (Yorkshire), Harwich (Essex) and Felixstowe (Suffolk) although the biggest is government-run Sevington (Kent) which covers imports entering via Dover, approximately 35.5 kilometres away.

The Netherlands’ association called for “good and decent” facilities for drivers who, in Sevington, for instance, must wait in a room measuring only a few square metres.

The TLN has also received complaints that goods unloaded for inspection are often damaged, with one firm losing plants worth €40,000 during a check.

“We’re not against the new border model, it’s here and we respect that,” De Bruin told the Guardian.  “But we want to improve the supply chain, because in the end it benefits the British consumer.”

“What we are hearing is that members say if this goes on, prices will go up in the UK, because they suffer so much damage and so many losses, as well as the waiting times.  Someone has to bear the cost.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca province and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at