British hauliers remain overwhelmingly unprepared for the end of the Brexit transition period – with just three per cent believing they are ready for the UK to formally sever ties with the EU, a new study has revealed.
As many as 96 per cent of UK haulier firms admit they are ‘not ready’ for the end of the transition on 31 December, according to specialist platform Haulage Exchange, with close to three-quarters of companies believing they will be negatively impacted by looming customs changes.
With less than two weeks the UK is set to end its current relationship with Brussels – with or without a trade deal – confusion reigns. Hauliers interviewed in the study suggested clear guidance had so far been lacking – with almost half stating they simply need more time to complete necessary admin.
The study comes after it emerged that lorry drivers will be forbidden from taking a ham and cheese sandwich – or other meat and dairy products – from the UK into the EU from 1 January, even if it’s only to eat while they’re driving.
Personal imports of certain animal-origin products will be banned from 11pm on 31 December, UK government officials said – a ban which will also apply to tourists.
“From 1 January 2021 you will not be able to bring POAO (products of animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (eg a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU,” the official guidelines state.
One truck fleet operator said he had not been aware of the new rules – which he said would cause added friction at the border.
“God help the poor customs bloke who is going to turf out the driver’s packing up box [food box]. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are fisticuffs if they try,” Simon Wilkinson told the Guardian.
Nearly three-quarters of haulage firms believe they will be adversely impacted by the pending changes to the UK-EU customs regime – with most believing that increasing waiting time at the border and the high amount of time spent preparing to cross the border having the biggest impact from 1 January.
A further 50 per cent of hauliers said they were anxious about higher tariffs being imposed on good, with only six per cent saying they did not think they would be impacted by the changes.
Over 80 per cent of hauliers said they wanted more clarity from the government about what happens next. Just three per cent of those interviewed described themselves as “totally prepared” for the end of the transition period.
Sam Wilkinson of the Transport Exchange Group said “delays at ports and paperwork are front of mind for carriers”.