An IT system that allows freight on HGVs to be “pre-declared” before being exported when the country splits from Europe has yet to be built, raising concerns of snarl-ups at the border.

With less than six months before the current transition period ends, HM Revenue & Customs is racing to set up a Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), which will provide hauliers with the clearance to move loads into the EU.

The FTA said last week it had only just heard about the new IT platform and it was urging the government to provide more details so that it could brief members.

Alex Veitch, FTA head of international policy, told MPs on the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee: “As we understand it, there’s a new system called GVMS which is going to be a way in which it will be possible to pre-declare goods in a truck before the truck even drives towards a port and that’s the system that must be tested.

“We are just hearing about the detail ourselves in the last week or two.

“Hopefully the shared goal of all of us is to avoid the need to have Operation Stack put in place to manage the flow of goods.”

Tim Reardon, head of the EU Exit at the Port of Dover, said the French had already tested a similar system and added: “I am certain that the GVMS system that the UK is building will similarly be tested, but it needs to be built before it can be tested.

“At the moment we are still at the stage of making sure the definition and specification of the system is correct, so it’s built with a fighting chance of doing what it’s needed to do.”

HMRC said it was developing systems in readiness for the end of the transition period and when full border controls are implemented from July 2021, with a phased introduction between January and July.

An HMRC spokesman said it was regularly engaging with the industry as it developed its plans, “in particular with regard to a new IT system that will facilitate movement at the border.”

The spokesman added that a border operating model will be published this month.

Veitch told that it was keen to learn of any system that facilitated the export of goods across EU borders and that the industry was “ready to support the preparations of such a system so that it can be ready for 1 January 2021.

“We are currently talking to the UK government and EU partners to understand all the system requirements and brief our members,” he said.

“It takes two to tango and we need both import and export systems to be ready, tested and operational to keep Britain trading.”