Logistics UK has renewed its appeal to government to provide the clarity and systems hauliers require to ensure trade continues flowing after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

Speaking to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the EU today (11 November), Elizabeth de Jong, the organisation’s policy director, said not enough government information has been forthcoming.

She pointed to significant delays in delivery of the Haulier Handbook, which is intended to give clear, vital guidance to drivers of all relevant nationalities and hence minimise the length of queues at ports.

The launch date for this has been put back to 18 November for a semi-complete version, and 7 December for a complete version – less than four weeks before the UK leaves the EU.

This product must then be translated and circulated to thousands of hauliers across Europe.

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“Of particular concern are operational barriers and the lack of clarity over trading arrangements between GB and NI," de Jong said. "The Customs Declaration Service is untested and construction of Border Inspection Posts for SPS checks has not yet started and will take up to six months to complete.

“New Trusted Trader schemes such as a Retail Movement System are required to allow safe, secure businesses to have streamlined border processes for GB to NI trade. Simplified processes are vital if NI’s businesses and consumers are to be protected. NI is dependent on the reliable supply of goods from GB across a host of industries, including food and medicines. Our sector needs comprehensive written guidance on how trade between GB and NI will operate so that importers, exporters and logistics businesses can prepare.”

With 50 days left to the end of the Transition Period, the industry’s concerns have also been raised in a letter to Michael Gove MP, in which Logistics UK highlighted these issues and urged action from government.

“With the economy still reeling from handling the impact of Covid-19, the last thing UK PLC needs is another major shock of our own making,” de Jong continued. “The logistics industry is committed to making Brexit work for the good of the nation but at this late stage, we need government’s help now to ensure our industry can continue to support UK business, prevent lorry queues at Dover and empty shelves in NI and make a success of the UK’s departure from the Single Market.”