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The Port of Calais not worried about phase two of Brexit border checks

More businesses and Brexit ministers begin to prepare for phase two of the additional border checks and new customs clearance documents that will be required from April when trading with European countries. Since the beginning of this year, many British businesses that trade controlled substances between the UK and Europe faced wide-spread disruption caused by Brexit chaos. On the other side of the Channel, the chairman of the port in Calais claims things have gone “smooth” for them and that they are not worried about the next phase. How have the French prepared differently to the UK?

“No problems” on the French side

Despite continuous issues in the UK, the chairman of Port Boulogne Calais, Jean-Marc Puissesseau says the French side had experienced “no problems” since the end of the transition period on 31st December. 

In preparation for the UK leaving the single market, the French government pumped around €50m into the Boulogne region, some of which covered hiring around 170 customs officials. This made the management team of the port feel secure prior to Brexit and they hope the phasing-in of additional UK border checks will be just as “smooth” as the first round.   

Mr Puissesseau added, “At the very start of January, around 45% of trucks coming from the UK were being asked to park and go through additional checks, but this is down to about 12%, with another 3% of freight volumes coming via ferry being subject to customs controls.” 

According to the staggered introduction of new import controls introduced on January 1st, all goods became subject to full checks but, up until April, only controlled substances will require declarations. This will change in about eight weeks when animal and plant products will be added to this group of products, too. All other goods will follow suit from 1st July. 

When asked about the upcoming changes, Mr Puissesseau said: “Looking ahead, we are keeping an eye on the new border checks that will be phased-in, firstly in April and then in July, and we are permanently in discussions with UK Border Force on how the rules will be implemented – but we think it should be a fairly easy change.

How can your business help to ease the Brexit phase two disruption?


Apply for a grant

Small businesses are being offered a grant of up to £2,000 each to pay for practical support for importing and exporting. This comes as part of a £20 million Brexit support fund set up by the government. Your business can use this money to manage the current rules, as well as help to prepare for the additional control coming into effect from April and July. See how our team of experts can help you!


“Challenge not a crisis” 

There is always a solution to a problem and when it comes to imports and exports, our UK Customs Solution team has got you covered. We see these challenges as ones that can be overcome when creative thinking is applied. Our large team has been preparing for Brexit for a long while now and we are ready to tackle any challenge. 


Embrace technology

Technological innovation can help many businesses find opportunities during Brexit. Our in-house IT department develops bespoke solutions for clients that help to improve processes when it comes to clearance declarations. 

Many lessons have been learnt in the last seven weeks of the UK trading outside of the single market and with this accumulated knowledge and experience those British businesses that are yet to start filling out the customs declarations post Brexit can rest assured that they will have the full and ongoing support of friendly customs solutions teams like ours! Get in touch to see how we can help! 

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