RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett has told French officials at a meeting of French businesses and officials at the Hauts de France regional government headquarters in Lille that planning for road transport in the event of a No-Deal Brexit is “dire” and “simply not robust enough”.
Burnett spelt out the complex customs procedures that would be needed – citing the example of one haulier who has 8,000 different shipments on a lorry – each requiring an import and export declaration and a Safety and Security Declaration. With 3000 trucks a week crossing the channel for that one firm that would mean millions of pieces of paperwork.
He commented: “With each declaration taking 10 minutes you would need 170 people working eight hours a day to process one load. Customs processes simply won’t work.”
He went on to say that Government assurances would relax rules to allow faster movement of lorries “may mean firms are breaking the law by not doing customs paperwork and no responsible firm will want to take that risk.”
“It’s critical we keep volume moving in case of a No Deal Brexit and UK haulage businesses are deeply concerned about the lack of clarity and information,” he said.
Earlier the Border Delivery Group claimed although much extra customs paperwork will be needed – it’s hoped it can be done away from the border to avoid queues – they recognise the challenges but will prioritise flow and fluidity. They claim considerable preparation work had been done on contingency planning.
Richard Burnett countered that those plans were “simply not robust enough”.