More than 2,000 hauliers were fined for not having the correct export documentation in the four months following the end of the transition period.
The UK completed its departure from the EU’s single market and customs union on New Year’s Eve, meaning exporters had to comply with new rules to continue sending goods into the EU – including the requirement to complete customs declarations.
Kent Access Permit
To minimise potential disruption caused by the post-Brexit rule changes, the government introduced the Kent Access Permit (KAP)
Hauliers had to attain this document in advance of travelling to Kent with goods that were to be exported over the Channel Sea. The permit showed that they had the required export documentation for their consignments.
The requirement for drivers to get a KAP was dropped on 19 April.
If hauliers using the Dover-to-Calais or Eurotunnel crossings did not have the KAP in advance of their cross-border goods movement, they were liable to pay a penalty fee.
According to a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Transport (DfT), 2,174 offences were recorded over the four months that the KAP was in operation.
The majority of these cases (2,129) resulted in a £300 penalty, raising more than £638,000 for the government.
Some hauliers have criticised the fines as being a money-raising exercise rather than a genuine attempt to control traffic levels to Channel ports.
Rob Hollyman, director of Youngs Transportation and Logistics told Motor Transport: “It didn’t reduce the number of trucks, it was outrageous and unnecessary and just ripping off lorry drivers”.
The DfT told the BBC that the scheme had been a “sensible” part of its plans and ensured those with the correct documentation could move smoothly through the ports.
It ran from 1 January to 19 April, after which it and was no longer required as lorry drivers increasingly arrived with the correct paperwork and levels of traffic were normalised.
While the EU required customs declarations for all imports from the UK from 1 January 2021, the UK has adopted a phased approach to introducing controls on goods entering GB from the EU.
From 1 October, the second stage of the UK’s Border Operating Model comes into effect, meaning veterinary health certificates will be required for products of animal origin.
The third stage comes into effect from 1 January 2022, when frontier declarations will be required for all goods entering GB from the EU.
Until now, importers have been able to defer declarations on imports from the EU for a period of 175 days.
The IOE&IT will be hosting a free webinar about how these rule changes impact manufacturers at 3pm on 9 September.
There has been concern that border inspection posts, which are also due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will not be ready in time.
Plans for a customs clearance facility near Dover were overhauled recently and downsized to a much smaller set-up following opposition from locals.
As things stand, work on the site is not due to begin until February or March 2022, after the new import requirements come into effect.