Speaking about reports of disruption to NI-GB trade, Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, commented:
“Issues which have occurred at the GB/NI border are due, in part, to businesses not having a full understanding of the new border requirements for moving goods to and from Northern Ireland. With only five days from the announcement of a new trade deal with the EU to the end of the Transition period, some confusion is inevitable, but it is now vital that government steps up communication with industry to ensure that loads can be dispatched with the correct paperwork and declarations.
“Logistics is adaptable and resilient and wants to do the best for its customers. However, the logistics sector cannot prepare alone: traders, transport companies, government agencies – both here and in the EU – all need to make sure that their processes and understanding is sufficient. Freight from GB to NI has seen particular challenges: the GVMS system used for all GB-NI freight was only fully launched on the 23 December, while guidance on GB to NI freight providing a grace period for parcels and post was published on the 31st December.
“Logistics UK has written to Michael Gove and Lord Agnew with three key asks from the logistics sector, which require urgent clarification to ensure that goods can continue to move smoothly across the UK’s borders with the EU. We have asked for clearer communication of the administrative requirements, akin to the Border Operating Model for GB-EU trade. We have also asked government to urgently apply simplifications and implement derogations and mitigations for all goods from NI to GB, and also to immediately restart the NI Protocol working groups, which do not yet appear to be functioning. These groups are vital to delivering longer-term solutions and avoid major disruption as volumes of traffic increase.”
Logistics UK (formerly FTA) is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit logistics.org.uk