Traders are being urged to ensure they are complying with new post-Brexit rules that were introduced at the start of the year if they want to avoid unexpected delays on goods crossing the UK-EU border.
While post-Brexit rules for British exports to the EU were introduced on 1 January 2021, controls on goods entering Britain from the EU only came into force at the start of 2022.
New rules include the requirement for import declarations to be completed at the point of entry into Great Britain and for agrifood traders to pre-notify authorities of their imports through the new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS).
Some hauliers have faced delays bringing goods into Britain due to issues with the new border IT system – the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) – that was introduced at the start of this year.
Steve Cock, director of customs consultancy firm The Customs House, told the Independent that a client had 20 lorries of food imports stuck in Calais and Rotterdam for around 48 hours last week.
“It’s a bit of pickle at the moment – it’s not just the IT system,” he said. “Not everyone knows exactly what they need for customs declarations and other paperwork.”
However, the IOE&IT has said that it has so far “received relatively few reports from members of problems at the border”.
IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione agrees with Cock that issues so far appear to be related to trader unfamiliarity with the new rules.
“Of the issues that have arisen up to now, we believe they are mostly due to traders’ unfamiliarity with the new systems,” he said.
GVMS allows importers to pre-lodge customs declarations in advance of their departing the EU for GB, provided those goods are headed for a port that is adopting the new technology.
According to IOE&IT Academy director Kevin Shakespeare, the new system has “an important role to in facilitating the fast movements of goods between Britain and the EU under the new regime”.
Shakespeare also reminded traders that GVMS is now in operation for exports from Britain to the EU as well, and warned traders to stay up-to-date with notices from HMRC on how to use the new system.
This followed a notice from government warning exporters that they need to check whether they should submit their export declaration as ‘arrived’ before their goods start their journey.
"Traders should stay alert to HMRC notices about how to use it correctly, as well as guidance in the IOE&IT Daily Update," Shakespeare said.
Importers still uncertain about their new requirements can register to a free webinar from the IOE&IT and Digital Trader Services on Monday 17 January.
The event will include an extended Q&A with businesses invited to ask questions in advance upon registration.
The questions will be answered by a panel of customs and trade experts including Shakespeare, as well as Shanker Singham (CEO of trade law and economic policy consultancy Competere) and Frank Dunsmuir (head of international trade and customs at Fujitsu).