Ports say infrastructure won't be ready for new border controls for imports from the EU in July

Tue 26 Jan 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

The government is being asked to delay the introduction of border controls which are due to be introduced on 1 July for goods entering the UK from the EU.

According to the FT, British ports have not received sufficient funding to develop the infrastructure needed to implement the new checks. 

Smaller pot

The government has decided not to increase the £200m that it put into the Port Infrastructure Fund, which was set up last year to prepare the country’s borders for new checks. This is despite receiving £430m bids from UK ports.

The bids covered the costs of building new Border Control Posts and other needed infrastructure for implementing checks on imports from the EU.

Shortfall

Portsmouth Port is one such bidder to have received less investment than needed to sufficiently upgrade its facilities for new controls.

It is getting just over £17m from the government for upgrades that will cost £25m, the Portsmouth News reports.

Port director, Mike Sellers, said: “While we appreciate the allocation, this leaves Portsmouth with an £8m shortfall to implement the most critical changes, and omits significant parts of our proposals.”

He added: “Prior to the delays in determining the bid, we were already concerned about the timescale required to make sure we were ready by July.”

Live animals

In a report submitted to the local authority, Portsmouth port said that it is the only facility in the country set up for veterinarians to approve the import of live animals to be used for breeding rather than slaughter.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the importation of breeding livestock into the UK could be completely halted within months if the government does not provide more funding for border posts for animal checks.

Urgent action

Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group, said:

“We need urgent action from the government to show flexibility either on the July 1 deadline or what is required on that date. The alternative is to accept potentially serious implications for traffic flows through the ports this summer.”