Logistics UK blames government for NI-GB trade problems

Industry body Logistics UK has blamed the UK government’s poor communication to haulage companies for the problems in getting goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at Logistics UK, commented, “Issues which have occurred at the GB/NI border are due, in part, to businesses not having a full understanding of the new border requirements for moving goods to and from Northern Ireland. With only five days from the announcement of a new trade deal with the EU to the end of the Transition period, some confusion is inevitable, but it is now vital that government steps up communication with industry to ensure that loads can be dispatched with the correct paperwork and declarations.”

De Jong said that a larger part of the problem stemmed from the customs system only being launched a week before the new rues came into force. “Logistics is adaptable and resilient and wants to do the best for its customers. However, the logistics sector cannot prepare alone: traders, transport companies, government agencies – both here and in the EU – all need to make sure that their processes and understanding is sufficient. Freight from GB to NI has seen particular challenges: the GVMS system used for all GB-NI freight was only fully launched on the 23 December, while guidance on GB to NI freight providing a grace period for parcels and post was published on the 31st December.

“Logistics UK has written to Michael Gove and Lord Agnew with three key asks from the logistics sector, which require urgent clarification to ensure that goods can continue to move smoothly across the UK’s borders with the EU. We have asked for clearer communication of the administrative requirements, akin to the Border Operating Model for GB-EU trade. We have also asked government to urgently apply simplifications and implement derogations and mitigations for all goods from NI to GB, and also to immediately restart the NI Protocol working groups, which do not yet appear to be functioning. These groups are vital to delivering longer-term solutions and avoid major disruption as volumes of traffic increase.”

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