The man who used to run the Customs terminal at the Port of Dover told Iain Dale that the reports of huge delays following a no-deal Brexit are very wide of the mark.
Robert called in to LBC after hearing a caller warn of chaos at the borders if the UK leaves the EU without any agreement. And he insisted that if there are any issues, they will be on the Calais side, not the Dover one. Speaking about reports of food shortages, he said “I think you’re going to have to go out of your way to be delayed. A consignment from Europe has a document which is then lodged at the port.
“It will then arrive in Dover in transit, exactly like it is today. Your first import declaration in a no-deal Brexit environment is due at the end of six months. You’ve got six months to do the import entry.
“In a no-deal plan, the only thing that’s going to have any difference from today is the EU exporter needs to raise an export declaration. That’s the end of Brexit no-deal planning”.
Iain asked why we hear so many stories of food shortages and traffic jams in Kent if everything is so simple. Robert responded “If there are any problems with motorways in Kent, it will be getting out again.
“But the government have literally today released a project which I’ve been working on for quite a few months, which is 150 pop-up stations and truck parks across the UK and Europe, where drivers can call in and have their paperwork checked so that they can approach the border knowing everything is in place. These will be all over the UK, so the message is don’t come into Kent unless you are border-ready”.
He admits that exports will still be a problem, adding “Export requires an export guarantee in transit. That is still an issue as the liability that is attached to transit is a major risk. Right now there aren’t enough transit bond holders, but we’re working hard to try to fix that and underwrite the guarantee. At the moment, you don’t want to raise a document for fifty quid, but with a liability that can shut your company down. That is an issue”.
Robert added that the main issues in a no-deal Brexit will be felt in Europe, saying “There will be a shortage of cheddar in Carrefore, but there won’t be a shortage of Brie in Tesco”. And we read from Tim Martin that “The pugnacious Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of Calais ports, has completely undermined the false presumption that the channel ports will seize up post Brexit without a deal “There will be no queues, c’est la bullshit”.