Goods entering the European Union from January will be subject to full border customs checks, regardless of whether or not a trade deal is reached, according to the EU’s chief negotiator.

Michel Barnier confirmed that from 1 January 2021, every UK product imported into the EU will face checks.

He also said Europe had already hired and trained hundreds of additional customs agents to handle the additional paperwork generated by the move.

The RHA said the government urgently needed to provide hauliers with clarity about how they were supposed to run their business from next year and that the UK had still not hired anything like the number of customs agents needed to process the new form filling.

Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive said: “The UK is very slow off the starting blocks on hiring thousands of staff to do this vital work. If we don’t tackle this fast it’s a recipe for disruption to the supply chain post-transition which affects us all.”

It is estimated that in the region of 50,000 customs agents need to be trained up by 31 December 2020, but the RHA said even if they were all hired by the end of the year, firms still don’t know what forms will be required, how they should be completed or where they will need to be sent.