United Kingdom warns of lorry logjam on Channel as Brexit hits

UK warns of lorry logjam on Channel as Brexit hits

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The port of Dover is in Kent County.

Lorry drivers will be required to have a 'Kent access permit (KAP)' to get into the county from January 1, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove has confirmed.

It is meant to ensure drivers have all the paperwork they need, he said.

Drivers will need to apply for the permits online and show they have all the paperwork they need to ferry goods to Europe.

The gloomy scenario is considered a "worst-case" at the end of the Brexit transition period if hauliers fail to prepare for changes to customs rules.

"While the assumption is that the risk of long queues and a constraint to flow caused by unready HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) would diminish in the first three months, the actual flow of goods would depend on the length of time it takes those exporting/importing businesses that were not ready on 1 January to get ready for new requirements".

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This month, there was a suggestion that a Covid-19 testing centre in Ebbsfleet, Kent, was closed to make way for a post-Brexit lorry park to allow customs checks to be carried out away from the Port of Dover.

"This could lead to maximum queues of around 7,000 port-bound trucks in Kent and associated maximum delays of up to two days", he said.
Although he said those queues were likely to subside after businesses learned from seeing their cargo denied access to the continent.

A deal could be struck much closer to the end of transition than early October, and ratification pushed into next year through another implementation period, Mr Singham told Brexit Committee MPs. Steve Hawkes, Director of Issues and Public Affairs at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said discussions of a Kent border could be part of a wider plan to force the European Union into signing a deal.

Responding to the worst-case scenario document, he said: "We've been consistently warning the government that there will be delays at ports but they're just not engaging with industry on coming up with solutions".

The picture of chaos at the border might be familiar from a similar set of projections made for no-deal Brexit a year ago as part of what was known as Operation Yellowhammer.

Gove spoke in the House of Commons, where he gave the MPs the latest updates on the preparedness of United Kingdom businesses for leaving the European Union and the preparations by the government ahead of Brexit.

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Cabinet Minister Michael Gove told the Commons on Wednesday that the permits could help avoid queues of up to 7,000 trucks seeking to cross the English Channel after the United Kingdom leaves the single market and customs union at the end of the year.

"Both imports and exports could be disrupted to a similar extent", it says.

Downing Street said Mr Barnier's visit was part of the informal talks process which both the United Kingdom and the European Union committed to. He said that the government has invested in increased customer agents capacity in its efforts to avoid disruptions.

He told the PA news agency: "It's an honesty box system".

Meanwhile, Logistics UK greeted news that new "SMART Freight" system - intended for use at the border after Brexit - will not be ready for January, as a "crushing disappointment" and a "massive blow" to logistics businesses.

But discussions on these issues await settlement of the impasse in negotiations on state aid and fisheries.

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