Early reports from the British Ports Association (BPA) reveal a fairly smooth transition following the UK’s January 1 exit from the EU.
According to a statement released shortly after the start of trade under Brexit, volumes were relatively low at most ports. “This could be a result of those traders that are able to avoiding the first few days of new border requirements and/or as a result of the stockpiling seen in Q4 2020,” the BPA says. “As freight flows begin to increase in the coming days and weeks there remains potential for disruption at some ports.”
Hauliers arriving at ports are understood to be mostly ready in terms of documentation although this still takes time to process, says the BPA.
Import controls (i.e. UK border controls) are being phased in, with only basic customs requirements currently necessary for inbound goods. New, more burdensome requirements, will come into force for incoming goods in April and July.
“Therefore, any issues that arise in the next few days and weeks will most likely be a result of exports and disruption at EU ports having a knock-on effect on UK ports - as seen when France stopped freight traffic arrivals for several days in December, for example,” the statement points out.