Last-minute government changes to new Brexit border controls, which launched on 31 January, will add ‘significant’ time and costs to critical just-in-time supply chains, Logistics UK has warned.
The alert follows the government’s sudden and unexplained reclassification of fresh fruit and vegetables as ‘medium risk’ goods for border inspections, causing confusion for businesses and raising the spectre of long lines of lorries at the border as fruit and vegetable supplies are checked.
The move has prompted Logistics UK to call for urgent clarification from the government about what businesses need to do to ensure trade can continue to flow smoothly.
Nichola Mallon, Logistics UK’s head of trade, said: “The government stated that 90% of all sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) commodities – those of plant or animal origin – are low risk, meaning they wouldn’t require an Export Health Certificate, be subject to physical checks, or be hit with a higher import charge. This change in classification will add significant time and costs to this critical just-in-time supply chain.”
She said logistics businesses have been pressing government for clarity on how border checks will be carried out on freight from the EU since the Brexit vote.
She added: “We are seeking urgent clarification on this issue and for decisions on all outstanding issues to be made public, including the import charge that government will apply at its border control posts.”