Operation Brock consultation: border in Kent brings unexpected friction

Monday 03 August 2020

In response to the launch today (3 August 2020) of a consultation on Operation Brock enforcement, Chris Yarsley, Policy Manager for Road Infrastructure at Logistics UK, comments:

“It is disappointing to see that the government is expecting significant friction at the border with the EU, after the logistics industry had been given previous reassurances that friction would be minimised. Our members are dismayed that the onus for compliance will be placed on drivers themselves, leaving them personally liable for a fine if they do not comply with the new rules.  The current proposals create an internal UK border by introducing Kent Access Permits, adding more red tape to the work which hauliers will be obliged to comply with.

“We are pleased to see the focus on upstream compliance, with pre-checks performed before the start of the journey. When fully implemented, the new Smart Freight system should help to keep traffic moving through Kent: to ensure this happens, it is vital that the UK government works with its EU counterparts to ensure all the border systems are joined-up.

“It is unclear when the Smart Freight system will be ready and available for testing – our members will need to see and learn the new system in order to have confidence in it.  Having enough time to adjust to the new Smart Freight System is vital – especially with planning for the Christmas season about to start– so government needs to provide reassurance that the system will be available and ready to use on 1 January 2021.

“We need government’s assistance to ensure logistics vehicles can continue to move smoothly into and out of the EU.  The current proposals leave too many questions unanswered and very little time available in which to identify and implement solutions to keep the country trading.”

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.