How do you Solve a Problem like Brexit & Customs?
With all of the recent Brexit discussions in relation to the changes in customs procedures, Freightlink have decided to consider where the pinch points are. Given that around 60-70% of cargo enters the UK through Dover, our analysis of the customs issue focuses on this very important route.
It's highly likely that any changes are going to have the biggest impact in both Dover and Folkestone, where there is the highest volume of traffic and probably the least amount of space per vehicle available.
We do not consider ourselves customs experts (but we are the UK's leading freight ferry booking agent!), but our main goal was to try and map out where the pinch points are likely to be within a new customs procedure. Download our 'EU Customs Union Post-Brexit' flow chart.
Our current customs procedures in the UK are extremely time consuming, require a lot of expertise and rely upon data flows that are checked well in advance to allow clearance. After Brexit, existing procedures will simply not work with the speed and volume of vehicles travelling on the Dover and Folkestone routes. We also have to consider not only the professional hauliers who already have access to customs agents and are used to exporting paperwork, but the 'ant army' of couriers and small manufacturers. Collectively, they ship massive volumes of freight through Dover with no or very little knowledge of custom requirements. There are also the vehicles carrying goods on passenger tickets who the ports will be obliged to process through customs channels on freight tickets.
Assuming (and we appreciate this is a big assumption) there are zero tariffs applied in the new deal, the new process
- must focus on data capture (phase 1 no doubt)
- must be accessible, easy to use, and as open as possible for businesses to enter product information
- must deliver an unprecedented level of speed to allow smooth transit
If the new Customs procedure can crack the Folkestone / Dover to Calais routes, all the other routes should be a breeze.