Freight News, Sea

Ports ‘frustrated’ over Border Control Post chaos

[ November 5, 2021   //   ]

The development of the systems and infrastructure to handle new post-Brexit border requirements has been deeply frustrating, said the UK Major Ports Group, following publication of the National Audit Office’s report on the UK border in the transition period.
It said that deadlines have been shifted, despite contractual commitments placed on ports for their readiness by Government. Government funding for Border Control Posts (BCPs) being built on ports themselves has proved inadequate – with ports themselves picking up c. £100m of investment shortfall.
The specification of the BCPs has been late and subject to last-minute revisions, all of which has delayed delivery and increased costs. And both ports and customers remain unclear how the costs of these facilities are to be recovered.
UK MPG added that this situation presents notable risks to the resilience of EU-UK trade flows. Infrastructure has taken longer to deliver than it should have, and traders will be less aware of the routes available and requirements.
Moreover, having some facilities delivered by the private sector and some by the Government and no clarity on a common playing field across them on requirements and cost recovery risks distorting trade flows, overloading some routes and leaving new capacity underused.
UKMPG chief executive Tim Morris said: “There needs to be an immediate stop to changes in assumptions and specifications from Government so ports can complete facilities. Without a common playing field of approach for cost recovery at Border Control Posts, trade flows will be potentially distorted, risking overloading some routes and leaving new capacity underused.
“The Government must urgently work with industry on these issues – we have the solutions and are committed to making new border arrangements work.”