Brexit checks on EU goods – how is it going so far?

The first few days of the post-Brexit checks in place for EU goods entering Great Britain have been “quiet" according to the Chief Executive of the Cold Chain Federation. Going by the relatively few reports of issues so far, this observation appears accurate. Freight volumes in the first days of the year are nonetheless notoriously low, and the situation could change as things pick up later in the month. Meanwhile, a number of companies and experts have already provided updated advice to hauliers regarding the checks.

Brexit checks on EU goods – how is it going so far?
Photo by Darko M. on Unsplash

Asked on Sky News this lunchtime about how the checks had gone so far, Shane Brennan, Chief Executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said:

“It’s very quiet so far, this is this is always a quiet week. And also the businesses knowing that they’ve got these changes are probably holding off in the first few days to see how things settle down before they start trading. I’d expect trade to start to ramp up at the weekend. And then we’ll see the real effect over the next two or three weeks the end of January.”

Brennan was also quizzed by Sky News on the issue of product shortages. In his view, there will not be empty supermarket shelves, but rather less choice available as the import of some niche products shall no longer be commercially viable.

Despite things being largely uneventful so far, there are nonetheless a few unconfirmed reports of issues cropping up here and there. For example, one lorry driver tweeted earlier today that one of his fellow-truckers had said 80 trucks were stuck in Calais due to not having the GVM number.

Moreover, Jon Swallow, founder of Jordan Freight, said that one his trucks was stuck in Dunkerque due to a GVMS error.

In reply to Jon Swallow’s Tweet, Gareth Jess, Director Of Operations at Hamilton Shipping, said that one of his drivers was stopped at Folkestone. He tweeted that the truck had arrived through the tunnel and that the GMR had not processed during transit. He added “No one knows what the problem is???? It’s going to be a long week!!

Wine wholesaler Daniel Lambert said he had heard of problems too, and tweeted this morning that a “border nightmare” had started.

Meanwhile, in order to try and reduce the amount of errors that result in delays, some representatives from the logistics industry have been providing tips and advice via LinkedIn.

One example is Alistair Eagles, CEO of Seatruck Ferries. On New Year’s Day, he pointed out that a missing information code could cause problems:

“During recent testing of our exports processes, some declarants have not been putting the Additional Information code ‘RRS01’ for pre-lodged and arrived export declarations for goods being declared at GVMS locations. If this is not done, GVMS will not be able to arrive the declaration. RRS01 needs to be declared at header level in Box 44 in CHIEF and in Data Element 2/2 in CDS.”

Henryk Kaluzny, Freight Manager for Poland & Eastern Europe at P&O Ferries, also highlighted four issues regarding GMR creation:

  • Creating your GMR for goods to UK please DO NOT try to upload MRN number from your EU EAD/EX document – you need to use ERN (UK import pre-lodgement made in CHIEF) or MRN (if goods delivered on T1/T2) instead; it’s also possible to use UK EORI but only if importer is authorized for EIDR in 2022,
  • Creating your GMR – if GVMS signalize that ERN from UK import declaration is not correct – ask your customer (exporter/importer/forwarder) to deliver new, properly issued ERN,
  • Creating your GMR for accompanied truck+trailer – always use TRACTOR registration number and if it’s changing en route to port – please amend GMR before arrival to port of exit, to ensure GMR is valid,
  • Creating your GMR – always add ferry route you are planning to use and if it’s changing en route to port – please amend GMR before arrival to port of exit, to ensure GMR is valid

Finally, Eurotunnel have also issued a statement to remind their customers about the new checks and subsequent changes:

“We remind you that important changes will apply at the UK Border from 1st January 2022. A GMR will be required for all crossings from 1st January 2022. When creating a GMR, can you please ensure in GVMS when completing Section 2 “About your vehicle” that you enter the tractor registration number and not the trailer number.”

The statement continues:

“This tractor registration number must correspond with the plate number that will be entered into the booking/Border Pass. Failure to do so will result in you not being able to complete your border pass with the GMR, an error message “invalid GMR” will appear. The same problem may occur directly at our pitstop. The tractor registration number must match in both GVMS and Border Pass and correspond with the vehicle which arrives on our terminal. Should this not be the case, the vehicle will be refused for travel.”


Photo by Darko M. on Unsplash

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