Commenting on the National Audit Office report that there is likely to be widespread border disruption at the end of the post-EU Exit transition period, the freight sector says that it comes as no great surprise.

Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) says that the NAO assessment corresponds with what it is hearing from its members, which believe that it will be take some time for a fully functioning border to be put in place.

“BIFA anticipates that the businesses which use its members’ freight forwarding and logistics services to conduct cross-border trade between the EU and the UK, will feel the impact of a sub-optimal border to varying degrees,” says Keen.

“BIFA acknowledges that, of late, the government has increasingly been putting in place coping responses where it can. How effective they will be remains to be seen.

“With less than two months to go to the end of the transition period, BIFA members are still waiting for the government to provide complete information and clarity on the processes by which cross-border trade will be conducted at the end of the year; the systems that will underpin those processes; and assurance that those systems, which have yet to be tested, will actually work, and be able to do what is necessary.

“Even before the pandemic, our members were concerned that the 11-month transition wouldn’t leave enough time to prepare for all the reasons mentioned in the latest NAO assessment. Having had their businesses affected badly by the effects of the pandemic, we really do continue to wonder whether they, and the clients they serve, will have the capacity to increase readiness for a sharp change in trading practices and conditions from the start of next year.”

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