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Dover chief calls for Common Transit convention

[ November 29, 2017   //   ]

Port of Dover chief executive Tim Waggott has called for the UK to become a member of the Common Transit Convention to ensure that freight continues to move through the UK’s ferry ports after Brexit. In a letter to the Exiting the European Union Committee – hosted by the port in October – he also called for mutual recognition of animal and animal origin products in order the keep red tape to a minimum.

While encouraged by the Chancellor’s announcement of £3 billion in the recent budget to address Brexit issues, the port and UK business still did not know what the outcome of the negotiations would be.

Later, Freight Transport Association deputy chief executive James Hookham, told the committee that trade arrangements, including customs procedures and mutual recognition of standards, market access arrangements for international haulage and the recognition of driver qualifications must be addressed as a priority. A reasonable transition period must be established, to allow trade to continue smoothly in the immediate period after Brexit:

He said: “We need to see a continuation of the arrangements that are in place, where it is intelligence-led, it is targeted and risk based.  Where there are no issues on conformity in particular countries, then those goods are not particularly focused on.   But what will put the current system under strain, is simply the sheer numbers of vehicles – 10,000 trucks a day.  And knowing which one of those vehicles is carrying the consignment that you particularly want to look at. That’s the technological challenge.”

He warned the committee  that the preparedness of other EU authorities needs to be considered too: “Whatever concerns our members may have about the readiness of UK agencies and institutions, we are hearing very mixed responses as to the readiness of continental equivalents and our Irish equivalents.  I hope the committee understands that even if Britain is ready at day one with a superbly frictionless processing system for all of this.  If our trading partners aren’t ready, then we will face inevitable delays.”

 

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