Importers stockpile goods in anticipation of border disruption as UK-EU trade talks continue

Fri 27 Nov 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Companies are stockpiling goods from Europe ahead of the end of the transition period due to fears of border disruption in January.

The UK will stop trading under EU rules on 31 December 2020, leading to new customs processes and controls for exporters and importers – regardless of whether the UK and EU agreed a free trade agreement.

Through the roof

Senior figures from the logistics industry told Reuters yesterday (26 November) that prices were “going through the roof” due to a lack of capacity.

Companies are importing goods in bulk now to avoid anticipated delays at the start of next year.

Rates have risen by about a fifth over recent weeks with further increases likely, according to Jordon Freight director Jon Swallow..

“We have told our customers that the best thing you can do now is stock up, stockpile, and they’re bringing in as much as they can,” he said.

Barnier’s back

Businesses will be faced with new customs requirements – including completing declarations – regardless of whether the UK and EU secure a trade deal.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier is travelling to London this evening for face-to-face talks over the weekend weekend, the BBC reports.

Deal to be done

Both sides claim that a deal is there to be done, if the other will offer concessions.

Barnier said the “same significant divergences persist” in negotiations, while Boris Johnson insisted the likelihood of a deal depended on the EU.

Speaking today, the prime minister told reporters that “there's a deal there to be done if they want to do it”.

Fish vs state-aid

According to The Express, Barnier today urged hard-line EU fishing states to back a compromise deal ahead of his trip to London.

Fishing rights remain one of the major sticking points in the negotiations, with several EU states seeking to retain current access to UK waters.

Barnier believes a concession on fisheries could encourage the UK government to give way in the stand-off over state-aid rules.

A source told “That’s the price the UK needs to pocket for a compromise on the level playing field.”