It’s all gone quiet over there…or has it?
Now that we are approaching a month into the brave new world of the UK being outside of the confines of the EU and well into a third Covid “lockdown”, one could be forgiven for thinking that the much-predicted bedlam at the UK’s major ports has largely failed to materialise given the relative lack of news stories featuring endless queues of lorries parked nose to tail on the M20 and M2.
The pre-Christmas pleadings of stricken lorry drivers anxious to return home for the Yuletide festivities are but a memory…or are they?
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, said the situation at Dover and other ports is “deteriorating” in a recent radio interview.
Scenes of lorries queued up on the approaches to ports would be “right at the top of the news agenda in any other year” he claimed.
Mr McKenzie blamed this on delays being caused “by a brand new mountain of red tape, which was introduced when we left the EU.”
His view was that this situation would be likely to get worse.
His comments came after foreign secretary Dominic Raab defended the UK’s deal with the EU, saying there would always be “teething problems” at the end of the transition period.
Mr Raab insisted the agreement was “a great deal” for the fishing industry in particular, some of whose Scottish workers descended on Whitehall in mid-January to protest against what they describe as “Brexit carnage”.
Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted due to increased bureaucracy and paperwork at UK ports, causing delays to the lorries transporting them.
Mr Raab added: “Of course, we’ve always said as we leave the transition period with a deal – but even more if we hadn’t had a deal – there will be some teething problems. We’re very focused on working with all of the different sectors, including the fishing industry, to resolve any of these teething problems.”
The Road Haulage Association and Department for Transport have issued some very helpful guidance for those businesses involved in transporting goods out of the UK and these can be accessed via the links below:
Paul Wormald, Transport and Logistics Partner commented “The observations being made by the RHA echo the feedback we are hearing from our clients who are reliant on the smooth transition of goods through our ports. We are working with our clients to help them understand what they need to do that they can still access markets and supplies without enduring excessive delays and inconvenience.”
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