Date: 10.02.2022

Fears grow over new post-Brexit border checks

Post-Brexit border checks have been introduced in stages since last January and the latest, which come into force in July, may cost UK companies millions of pounds, as widely reported in the national press.

Full checks and controls on imports of live animals and food at the GB border – which had originally been due to come into force on 1st January 2021 – had been postponed, to give UK importers more time to prepare, despite the EU having implemented checks on British exports immediately after ‘Brexit’ began on 1st January 2021.

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said paperwork required for live animals or animal products – added to existing border red tape – would result in extra costs of £120m and “British consumers will be picking up the bill”.

In its latest report parliament’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said the only detectable impact of Brexit so far is increased costs, paperwork and border delays and that it was “clear that EU exit has had an impact” on UK trade volumes.

The report says there is potential for further disruption during the course of this year as more people start travelling again, and passenger volumes at key ports like Dover increase.

New border systems have yet to be tested with traffic back at what were normal levels, before the pandemic struck. This includes cargo and people travelling, which is a diversion from pure freight protocol and integrity.

Until now UK importers have been in an extended grace period, but in July, certification and physical checks will be introduced for all animal and meat by-products, and physical checks on live animals will take place at designated border control posts.

BMPA warned the additional paperwork caused may cause a permanent 20% loss of trade with the EU due to costs. “European exporters will become less inclined to keep supplying to the UK,” it said.

Allen explained: “After a year of dealing with the new post-Brexit customs and certification system, our members are reporting a huge rise in cost, which either has to be absorbed or passed on to their EU customers, rendering British exporters less competitive.”

This could have a significant impact on British consumers’ “cost of living woes,” as over a quarter of all food in Britain comes from the EU. This has been widely commented on recently, with food inflation starting to impact at every level.

The BPMA believe the government could solve the problem by entering into a veterinary agreement with the EU which would negate the need for most of the current bureaucracy and physical border checks and give British exporters a fighting chance to regain the trade they’ve lost, or may lose in the future, if action is not taken to avoid the fallout.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the cost of produce from retailers reached 4.5% year-on-year in December, which is the highest rise in nearly 10 years. And it is continuing to spike further in 2022.

We are seeing our own inflation, with additional administration and increased resource needed to complete brokerage processes – and further requirements – to ensure that our customers’ cargo continues to flow across UK/EU in both directions. 

Metro are continuously launching initiatives, digital and physical, to reduce costs and protect against negative market effects, whenever significant changes impact European supply chains.

Metro are at the forefront of delivering EU customs brokerage solutions, with our automated CuDoS declaration platform and a dedicated team of 40 customs experts.

Now available to new customers, our CuDoS customs brokerage platform is optimised continuously, in line with the regimes in force on both sides of the Channel.

Automating and submitting customs declarations and associated paperwork, CuDoS simplifies compliant border processing, in either direction. 

To discuss your situation and to learn how we automate customs declarations for businesses of all sizes, please contact Elliot Carlile to talk through the options. 

This is another area of expertise within the logistics environment that we have led from the front since the announcement of the UK leaving the EU and continue to pride ourselves in delivering real solutions to all customers every day.