We are now just under three months away from the end of the transition period, which will conclude on the 31st December 2020 at midnight, meaning that changes to the ways in which our borders operate and the way we conduct trade will commence from the 1st January 2021.
As the Covid19 pandemic may have hindered business preparation over the past year, the Government is implementing border controls in a three-stage process as a means of smoothing the transition.
"Our updated Border Operating Model provides further detail on how the GB-EU border will work after the transition period ends on 31 December and the actions that traders, hauliers and passengers must take. With fewer than 3 months to go, businesses need to prepare now for new procedures whether or not we reach a trade agreement with the EU, so that they can seize the significant opportunities that lie ahead."
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove.
With significant preparations underway, it is important that you know exactly what changes you can expect to see in the new year.
Locations of possible new freight check sites are now available to provide the necessary additional capacity.
You are probably aware of Operations Brock and Stack and how they prevent port delays in Kent. Whilst Operation Stack has been removed from border operational measures, Operation Brock has been reimagined in order to assist with the movement of freight. The Smart Freight system was recently introduced to work alongside Operation Brock, combining the plans to manage traffic at the border with software in an attempt to keep a smooth flow of traffic moving through the port.
The movable barriers will now move much more swiftly and will only take hours to deploy, making delays a lot less likely and helping to keep freight moving.
Passports will be required for entry into the UK from October 2021. The Government is phasing out the use of EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards as a valid travel document for entry to the UK.
To travel through Kent, HGV drivers will now be required to hold a Kent access permit. This permit will only be obtainable for drivers who have provided all of the correct documentation required for freight movement at the port. You will be able to find out if you have all of the correct documentation by utilising the new ‘check an HGV” service. This permit will only be accessible for 24 hours and will grant HGV drivers the right to pass through the roads leading to the port of Dover.
As part of the new changes the border will also operate on a traffic light system, in order to prevent traffic through Kent.
This will be done as a way of knowing which drivers have brought the correct paperwork, so that they can move through the port in a separate queue to those who have not brought all of the necessary documentation required for transportation.
Using your vehicle registration you will be required to download the mobile app where you will input your self-declaration form.
You will be assigned one of three colours dependent upon the documentation provided. Green means you have all of the relevant documents, amber will let you know that you need to go to the HMRC office of departure to complete customs processes before leaving the port and red will show that you are unable to leave due to insufficient paperwork.
"It’s vital that hauliers and traders do everything they can now to prepare for our new trading relationship with the EU. Firms moving goods across borders will have to undertake customs processes whether there’s a deal or no deal. The message is clear – if the paperwork’s not right, the goods won’t cross."
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.
You can read the entire Border Operating Model for importing and exporting goods on the Gov.uk website.