Post-Brexit customs chaos does not materialize
Among those who raised concerns was Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, who said last month that awareness of the coming changes was low. Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, warned on New Year’s Day that the extra paperwork could trigger “further chaos in the supply chain.”
Anna Jerzewska, founder of Trade & Borders, a customs consultancy, told Bloomberg: “I don’t think we’ll see complete chaos – but there will be disruption.”
James Sibley of the Federation of Small Businesses said disruptions to the latest set of rules could still arise following a “slow trickle of problems” when previous changes were made last year.
“We would expect issues to start showing up as the month goes on because EU Supplier X got the documents wrong, or [they’re] not able to provide the right data, ”he said.
Sam Lowe, trade expert at Flint Global, said the latest checks are “largely administrative, therefore resulting in more costs and bureaucracy for importers in Britain, rather than literal checks.”
The industry has warned that trade disruption is more likely in July, when the next set of post-Brexit trade rules are introduced.
Meat and plant products from the EU will need export health certificates and could be subject to physical checks at UK border checkpoints.
Mr Ballantyne said: “This will be where there could certainly be disruption to trade and additional costs for UK importers.”
The Telegraph understands that the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is holding a call with industry groups on Wednesday to discuss the food supply chain, including how customs changes have affected the industry and the impact of staff shortages.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “Comprehensive customs controls are now in place which have been deployed in accordance with our expectations and plans. We will continue to work closely with ports and carriers to monitor the situation. “