Hauliers report GVMS delays for EU goods entering GB – and four other supply chain pinch points

Wed 5 Jan 2022
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News


Lockdowns, driver shortages, Brexit and the Suez Canal blockage put global supply chains in the headlines in 2021 and the industry looks set to face more disruption in 2022.

Most notably, reports are emerging that hauliers carrying European goods into Britain are facing disruption following the introduction of new post-Brexit rules on EU goods entering the country, particularly concerning a new IT system that is being used to implement some of these new controls.


Politics Home reports problems with the government’s Goods Vehicles Movement System (GVMS) that is leading to delays for lorries bringing EU goods into Britain.

GVMS became operational on New Year’s Day for goods moving between the UK and EU and is mandatory for hauliers bringing EU goods through some British ports.

Jon Swallow, a logistics boss, said one of his HGVs had been delayed at France’s Dunkirk Port for three days as of Wednesday morning.

GVMS issues

Under new rules since 1 January, lorry drivers are asked to pre-lodge completed import declarations with UK border authorities, using GVMS, in exchange for a ‘Goods Movement Reference’ that allows them to cross the border.

However, firms have reported drivers being denied permission to make the trip after having their reference codes rejected by the system or after having struggled to upload their information in the first place.

Steve Cock, director of customs consultancy at The Customs House, told Bloomberg: “We’ve got a whole bunch of lorries that aren’t clearing because something isn’t working, and it’s not incompetence on our part”.

Train derailment

England has also seen disruption at London Gateway after a train derailment at the DP World-operated port led to cargo being diverted to the roads.

The incident is unfortunate as the UK has increasingly been shifting more freight onto the rails to help solve the driver shortage it has faced since the summer and to meet climate goals.

According to the Loadstar, rail cargo handled at the port was up by 23% last year to 880,000 teu.

Ferry bad news

In Scotland, Caledonian MacBrayne ferries have had to change their schedules as Covid absences on ships and at ports rose by 166%, reports the Independent.

Ports serving Scotland’s northern and west islands have implemented reduced hours due to 9% of ship crews and 5% of port staff being absent, the company said.

Latest China lockdown

In China, Ningbo port has been hit by coronavirus disruption caused by a lockdown in the city’s Beilun District detected on 1 January, reports Lloyds Loading List.

Only 6,000 of 20,000 local lorry drivers have been given special passes to work at the port resulting in delays to container movement.

Ship pilots are also in short supply due to Covid with 120 ships at anchor off the Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan ports.

Border problems in Vietnam

Vietnam’s trade ministry has asked China’s Guangxi authorities to ease its zero tolerance policy on Covid to help alleviate truck congestion at its border, reports Aljazeera.

Thousands of trucks are being held up by Covid policies which is affecting bilateral trade.

Ongoing issues

Industry observers have postulated that global supply chain difficulties could persist into 2023, reports the Guardian.

However, fresh data from the New York Federal Reserve’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) has also suggested that the peak of these issues may have at least passed.