February/March 2021

Exporters need help…

…and the government needs to step up, says the Anglo-French and European Road Freight Specialist France Line.

The queues at customs and at Britain’s key ports have been lengthening since the 2nd week of January 2021, with chaos building and its authorities need to do more to resolve deeper issues, says France Line’s Managing Director Marie Boyer from their HQ in Trafford Park. “Cross-channel traffic was relatively light early January, but that was largely a result of depressed demand, businesses stockpiling at the end of 2020 or delaying deliveries as anticipating teething problems. The main problem is in correct information for the customs declarations now required as the UK has left the Single Market and Customs Union. It is no longer just trucks that move goods; data is just as vital, as customs are all about accurate data.

“Our activity has reduced by around 50% on this time last year. Some freight forwarders are down 85% on usual levels as many exporters are not prepared, as the practicalities of the deal were only released during the festive period. Other businesses thought they would not need any new paperwork to ship onto the continent, because the free-trade deal meant they could continue as normal. Most of our customers understood our warning of the past few years that this would not be the case, and followed our advice to prepare for the worst, hoping for the best, and prepared using our checklists. Others are taking the conscious decision to defer deliveries until they have got all the correct data for the paperwork.

Marie Boyer, France Line

“But having the correct paperwork is not enough. Britain urgently need more customs agents. IT is a problem too. As activity levels increase, the waiting time for customs clearance is increasing, and parking and lack of facilities at the customs lorry parks are big issues. Many of the European hauliers the uk haulage industry rely on for their exports into Europe are scaling back their services due to these issues. This will result in a shortage of trailers, and higher haulage prices for uk manufacturers. This could mean UK goods becoming too expensive, EU importers sourcing these products elsewhere and a risk to many UK jobs. It is time the government at last understood this and did something about it, starting with the recruitment and training of more customs agents.”

For further information please contact Marie Boyer on 0161 746 8339 or email info@francelinetransport.co.uk