Economic consultancy Oxera predict delays and £1bn in additional costs at EU borders post Brexit
For anyone who’s ever been caught up in operation stack, or experienced the Calais chaos of the last couple of summers in particular, the prospect of far tighter border and customs controls won’t be much of a delight. Economic consultancy Oxera have estimated that delays and additional costs of up to £1b a year could be a reality.
Delays, permanent lorry parks and increased costs
The imposition of a more stringent customs regime will inevitably mean that drivers and their vehicles will take significantly longer at EU border controls. That, according to the Oxera report, will cause a number of knock on effects, with increased staffing costs for hauliers, ports and customs officials, as well as the need to develop dedicated lorry parks across the south east of England.
Replacement of HMRC customs IT system CHIEF causes further concern
The report also highlights that HMRC Customs is due to replace their current IT system, CHIEF right at the point when Britain is due to leave the EU, March 2019.
The replacement of the customs clearance was agreed long before the referendum was even considered. It had been planned that the new clearance system would deal with 60 million clearances per year, but it may now need to process as many as 300 million transactions. HMRC remain confident that the system itself will cope, and that they can deliver it a couple of months early, in January 2019. Given that the customs deal is yet to be agreed, the system will certainly need to be agile if it’s to cope efficiently with what’s to come.
For many drivers, the concerns are with what the impact will be on their day to day working lives and outside of the costs, the projected queues at borders present a gloomy prospect. It will be interesting to see just what deal is agreed, and how far it goes in accommodating the drivers, who will be first in line to feel the differences in regime.