Commenting on the publication of the Government’s Brexit negotiating position paper on customs, the British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne today welcomed the focus on continuity but suggested that further reassurances were needed on future customs arrangements at the border.
In a statement Ballantyne said: “We welcome the Government's priorities to ensure a smooth transition in the immediate period after the UK leaves the EU but more focus is needed on the likely impacts such as delays at ports.
“Preserving the beneficial arrangements of Customs Union membership, such as minimal checks at the border, are extremely important to a number of ports, particularly the Roll-on Roll-off/ferry port gateways,” he continued.
“Collectively such ports facilitate tens of thousands of HGV journeys a day between the UK and the EU, representing billions of pounds in trade each year and it is vital to the UK economy that this trade continues uninterrupted.”
He concluded: “We note the Government's aspiration of streamlining the border in the future but it is unclear how the potential new requirements covering, for example, plant/animal product checks at the border and other issues will be resolved when we leave the EU.
“In our view the UK Government has given much attention on achieving a tariff free trade agreement with the EU without focusing on the potential bureaucratic delays there could be at the border.”