A new post-Brexit IT system is creating huge lorry queues in the EU as vehicles are trying to bring various goods to the UK.
The latest red tape comes as new Brexit restrictions were implemented on 1st January, meaning imports to Britain need to be processed through the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS).
“Companies are already having trouble with the system,” Bloomberg reporter Joe Mayes said.
Glasgow loves EU reacted to the news that the GVMS is bringing lorries to a halt: “If only it was a laughing matter!,” the group said, adding: “The UK imports almost 50 per cent of its food and 84 per cent of its fresh fruit and is heavily reliant on EU countries such as Spain for vegetables and salads.”
UK issues ‘not unexpected’, Honda says, after being caught in red tape
In one case, Angelos Panayiotou, of Windfall Logistics, is trying to send iced tea to the UK, but despite having all the paperwork in place, gets an error message from the GVMS.
He said: “There’s no-one to help. You’ve just got drivers stuck at port, unable to move.”
Steve Cock of the Customs House, a Kent-based broker, said transport has been blocked since 1 January because the new system is not working.
“It’s going to cheese off a lot of people and have a lot of additional charges for vehicles that aren’t getting to the U.K,” he said.
Among companies stuck at the UK border is Japanese giant Honda, which had a shipment of parts pulled over by authorities because some goods were not coded correctly.
In a statement, a Honda spokesperson said the problems were not “unexpected, as the UK’s new customs systems come online.”
But Mayes warned the problem could be much bigger than it appears.
Problem much bigger than it appears?
He said: “This is another case where it’ll be hard to see the disruption – many trucks simply won’t leave factory premises until they’ve got their GVMS clearance. So it won’t necessarily be queues at ports, but actually behind-the-border hold-ups, akin to Jan 2021.
“But of course, it’s still early days. Freight volumes are typically light in early January. Industry figures say they expect a pick-up from 10 January, which will be a truer test. They also hope these are teething problems which officials will quickly fix.
“Though as of 4 January, the first proper day of trading under new system, that’s the state of play. Some reported disruption, but otherwise muddling along. All eyes on whether it gets better or worse in the days to come…”
An HMRC spokesperson said: “GVMS is online and is working as planned since 1 January 2022 when full customs controls were introduced.
“We are aware of a small amount of user error issues with some of the new customs processes as traders and hauliers adjust to the new controls, which we expected and are addressing.
“HMRC continues to undertake a wide variety of engagement activity with hauliers and traders to ensure they understand the new obligations.”