The UK Government’s haulier handbook, which contains key info on the extra bureaucracy the UK’s departure from the EU single market entails, won’t be ready until just over 3 weeks before the changes come into effect.
The news was revealed yesterday by Logistics UK organisation’s policy director Elizabeth de Jong, who was speaking during a House of Commons Select Committee on the UK’s Future Relationship with the European Union.
“We have been pressing government for clarity on business and government readiness for the UK’s departure from the EU from 1 January 2021, but not enough has been forthcoming. For example, there are significant delays in delivery of the Haulier Handbook, which is intended to give clear, vital guidance to drivers of all relevant nationalities and hence minimise the length of queues at ports. The launch date for this has been put back to 18 November for a semi-complete version, and 7 December for a complete version – less than four weeks before the UK leaves the EU. This product must then be translated and circulated to thousands of hauliers across Europe so they can read and understand it, and prepare for 1 January 2021.”
Following Elizabeth de Jong’s contribution to the select committee, Logistics UK released a statement confirming that they had sent a letter to UK Government Minister Michael Gove regarding the need to address the concerns of the industry.
In recent weeks the UK Government have urged hauliers and other businesses to „get ready for Brexit”. However, many companies who trade with the EU say that they are lacking the information they require from the government.
Logistics UK say that the logistics industry „is committed to making Brexit work for the good of the nation” but also stress that they need the government’s help now to ensure the industry „can continue to support UK business, prevent lorry queues at Dover and empty shelves in NI and make a success of the UK’s departure from the Single Market.”
In particular, Logistics UK are concerned about trading between Northern Ireland and the British mainland come January 2021.
In their statement, the organisation said that there are „operational barriers” and a „lack of clarity” over trading arrangements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is down to the fact that the Customs Declaration Service is untested, while Logistics UK also point out that construction of Border Inspection Posts for SPS checks has not yet started and could take up to six months to complete.