Commenting on today’s announcement by the UK government of the Border Operating Model that will take effect from the end of the Transition Period, the trade association for UK freight forwarders said it is keeping its fingers crossed that its members, the companies that manage cross-border trade between the UK and EU, will have enough time to make the necessary preparations to facilitate the revised arrangements.
Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that the information contained in the documentation suggests a more cohesive approach to managing the UK’s trade flows and regulatory procedures with the EU.
“Today’s announcement makes it very clear that importers/exporters, in particular those that have previously only traded with the EU; really need to consider what they need to do, collect data, appoint someone to act on their behalf and give the intermediary the necessary information.
“Government appears to have woken up to the fact that Customs procedures are complicated and are not simply about ticking a few boxes.
“Perhaps it is evidence that the freight forwarding sector, which manages many of those customs procedures, is finally getting some welcome recognition from government for its crucial role in the UK’s international trade.”
“However, we remain concerned that the information delivered today was not made available to trade earlier and that some of the details appear to be at the conceptual stage, with detail lacking.
“This will make the time frames for consultation and then devising the appropriate IT systems extremely challenging.
“Even with a phased transition that comes with the new Border Operating Model, and yesterday’s commitment to a further £705 million investment to fund new infrastructure, jobs and technology at the GB-EU border, we remain concerned on a number of issues, including the recruitment of staff qualified and experienced in Customs procedures, and the lack of available time to train newcomers, which is not a five-minute job.”