In answer to the release of the government’s Operation Brock consultation response, Heidi Skinner, Logistics UK’s Policy Manager for the South East, said:
“The Operation Brock consultation response, announced [yesterday], provides some reassurance for logistics businesses that contingency plans will be in place to enable them to deal with any disruption to the supply chain from 1 January 2021 onwards. However, the plans still miss much of the detail operators need to plan effectively. Logistics UK has been urging its members, as well as exporters and importers using logistics services, to make all possible preparations for the new trading environment which they will encounter, but there is still much to complete. Systems must be finished and thoroughly tested before the end of the transition period, and the guidance provided by government must be practical and effective to ensure there is no confusion or misinterpretation.
“The Hauliers Handbook presented by government as a solution for those crossing borders still needs much work, and must be tested by users to ensure it is fit for purpose. As we approach the busy Christmas trading period, it is imperative that sufficient time is made available to ensure that this can be done without impacting vital work which logistics operators must complete. With so much complexity and new processes created or amended in the last few weeks, drivers and hauliers need a user-friendly, go-to document to support them in their preparations and daily activities from 1 January.
“Of particular concern to our members is the reference to the applications for ECMT permits. In a call with government [Wednesday 21 October], stakeholders were told these permits should not be needed: if they are now considered vital for continuing to trade with the EU, logistics businesses need assurances that sufficient will be available (current allocation to the UK falls short by a factor of four) to prevent hauliers being forced out of business. In addition, more clarification is needed on exactly how and where permit applications can be made and what the selection process will entail.”