The Road Haulage Association has disputed claims made by the President of the Port of Calais, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, that the Port of Calais is Brexit-ready and will not be carrying out any more vehicle checks, post-Brexit, than are already being carried out – apart from those for food, livestock and migrants.
The RHA insist Puissesseau, who was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, has not provided a “complete picture” and his advice is "completely misleading".
RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett explained: “At our meeting in Calais… Monsieur Puissesseau made it abundantly clear that when a vehicle arrives at Dover, whether destined for Calais, Dunkirk or Coquelles, if the driver is without their pre-customs declarations or without a permit (if it’s a British driver) or a transit document (if delivering to a different country), they will be rejected.
“To complete that initial documentation check could take up to four or five minutes - still a significant delay. If the declaration is not fully completed, the shipping lines will reject the vehicle - it will have to turn away or park up to get the declaration completed.”
However, to access that process British businesses will have to complete the right documentation in the first place.
Burnett continued: “With 11 weeks to go until we leave the EU, we have nowhere enough clearing agents with sufficient knowledge to give business the help and advice they need.
“British businesses won’t have time to put the processes in place themselves – they simply don’t have the resources.
“We also need to be aware that the customs process has still not been agreed from a French perspective. They may well be checking trucks, despite Chris Grayling’s belief that this will not be the case. The French customs may well check for clearance documentation at Calais, Dunkirk or Coquelles.
“There may even be checks at Calais to check the export declarations. This has not been clarified but in the event of these checks, there will inevitably be long queues around the Port.
“In addition, the number of migrants we have seen today clearly shows that the issue has definitely not gone away. Delays at the Port will simply act as an even greater magnet to those intent on reaching UK shores by whatever means possible – usually on the back of a truck.”
Earlier this week Transport Secretary Chris Grayling acknowledged the scale of the potential disruption to the Dover Straits, if additional customs checks were introduced in Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk, could be “very significant”.
Posted on: January 11th 2019