Trade bodies raise concerns to Parliament on readiness of GVMS and other goods movement systems

Tue 13 Oct 2020
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

lorry park

There is industry confusion over development of the key IT systems that will be used to handle trade across the UK’s post-transition borders, reports The Loadstar.

Industry bodies have raised concerns about when the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS) and the associated ‘Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border’ system (formerly known as Smart Freight System) will be ready.

Testing timetable

Addressing the Future Relationship with the EU parliamentary select committee yesterday (Monday 12 October), Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said he “hoped” the GVMS would be ready by 4 December and the smart freight system by “December 2020”.

Gove note that both systems were being “refined” and that this was “part of the same process” as testing.

Stephen Bartlett, chairman of the Association of Freight Software Suppliers (AFSS), said this schedule presented problems in getting staff used to the systems. 

“Our concern is less linked to the government’s ability to have the software ready in time for December, but is more focused on how little time this provides haulage operators to train their staff in using these systems.”

Will it work?

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has also cast doubt on how prepared the UK is for the new trading environment. Director general, Robert Keen, said: “BIFA members are looking for assurance from government that the new IT and other systems being introduced will actually work.”

Port operators in Northern Ireland have said new facilities to check goods arriving from GB will not be in place for the end of the transition period, reports the BBC.

Speaking to the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs scrutiny committee, operators voiced concerns about the UK’s new border IT system and potential delays. While ports have developed contingency measures, these have yet to be approved by Brussels.