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Get ready – this time it’s for real, warns Clecat

[ December 17, 2021   //   ]

European forwarders’ organisation Clecat is urging shippers and hauliers to prepare for the introduction if full customs controls into the UK from the end of the year. It points out that from 1 January, customs controls will apply to all goods moving between the EU and GB, along with additional pre-notification requirements for certain SPS shipments.

It says that while from early on in the process of the UK’s departure from the EU, European freight forwarders and customs brokers have been prepared to support their customers, hauliers and smaller traders still seem to be unprepared for the new procedures remains. The new year could be met with operational chaos, it says.

While the UK government’s decision to phase in customs requirements for GB imports from the EU was subsequently delayed on two occasions which allowed operators more time to prepare, CLECAT says that the extra time has not always been used wisely. Not only are hauliers and smaller traders not fully ready to deal with the new requirements on 1 January, but many of them are also still trying to get to grips with the changes that came on 1 January 2021. CLECAT stresses that a lot of work remains to be done to boost awareness and readiness, and is urging shippers and hauliers to take all necessary steps to ensure that they are ready for the new EU-GB border requirements from January 2022.

It adds that the UK government still needs to sort procedural and IT details in preparation for taking control of its borders including IT implementation and associated requirements and processes, particularly concerning the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). There is confusion over different port models (pre-lodgement and/or temporary storage), as well as lack of understanding of the different responsibilities and liabilities of supply chain stakeholders. Clarity on the new pre-notification requirements for SPS goods is also still lacking.

It says that adjusting to the post-Brexit trading environment is a learning curve, that needs to be approached in a flexible and pragmatic way, rather than by penalising operators during the transition phase.

However, CLECAT stresses that notwithstanding the lack of complete readiness, further delays in the implementation of the Border Operating Model should be avoided. Another delay would only mean postponing what is inevitable, leading to further confusion.

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