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HMRC's concern for transit routes

HMRC share thier concerns with software suppliers about potential post-Brexit transit disruption.

As a software supplier to the import/export industry and as a member of several associations, i2i Infinity often attend meetings organised by HMRC or meetings in which representatives of HMRC are guest speakers.

At these meetings HMRC have communicated that one of their biggest Brexit concerns is the movement of freight through the ports in the south east. HMRC have estimated it currently takes, on average, 12 seconds per lorry to process transits to EU countries, however when processing 'deep sea' shipments, outside of the EU, this rises to 15 minutes per lorry.

Unless procedures and port infrastructures change to allow faster clearance through the border, we could see major gridlock on roads in the south east, such as those seen last summer. After the events in Nice last summer, French customs increased security checks which caused delays of up to 14hrs at the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel. Kent Police have procedures in place to deal with disruptions to cross channel transits, such as Operation Stack, but clearly these are not suitable solutions.

The British Ports Association’ Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne as stated on their website"With the Prime Minister indicating that the UK will be leaving the Single Market, the issues and implications of this for UK ports centre around increased Government border activities, which could lead to disruption on goods and logistics flows at ports."

One potential solution which has been discussed in HMRC strategy meetings, is to set up a series of inland clearance hubs, where customs checks can be completed before the vehicles reach the border. Given the potential two year timeframe for Brexit, the industry is suitably anxious.

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