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UK border delays ‘getting worse’

Only last week we have seen unofficial statistics released by the government, stating that the cross-Channel trade is showing signs of recovery. Fast forward to the end of this week and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) reports UK border delays are ‘getting worse’. This claim is based on a survey conducted by CIPS on 350 UK supply chain managers.

Nearly 60% of supply chain managers report delays of up to three days

The survey found that 58% of participants are experiencing longer delays than they have been at the beginning of January 2021, with 30 per cent reporting that delays are significantly longer than they were when the new border rules first came into effect.  

The percentage of those experiencing at least two or three days on shipments into the UK reached 63%, showing an increase of 38% from figures recorded in January, in a similar survey. As for those dealing with exports, 44% of those surveyed were affected by such delays. 

Almost half of the surveyed supply chain managers say that the main reason for the delays is the time it takes for customs clearance paperwork to be completed. Others cited further reasons, such as lack of capacity among customs staff and their drivers being turned away due to incorrectly filled out paperwork. 

The worrying thing is that some of the import certifications are yet to come into place and hold-ups are already affecting so many businesses. This could get worse from April when a wider range of goods will be subject to extra checks.  

Dr John Glen, CIPS economist and visiting fellow at the Cranfield School of Management, said: “We are well into the second month of the new arrangements and the hope that delays at the border would reduce as freight volumes returned to normal and customs systems became used to the new processes has not come to pass.

“What is even more concerning is that the delays are continuing to get longer, putting more and more pressure on the UK’s supply chains and affecting the timely delivery of much-needed goods. 

“The paperwork required at the border is not going to change any time soon, so we should brace ourselves for these delays to continue for at least the next few months. New requirements for import certifications are also rapidly approaching and these will only add to the paperwork required, causing further delays for businesses.

“The knock-on impact of these delays will trickle far down the supply chain and ultimately result in stock shortages and inflated prices for consumers”.

How to be better prepared?

We are sure you heard this many times now, but the best way to deal with Brexit changes is to be prepared for them. As a leading customs clearance agent, our team is ready to help you with your import or export requirements. So here are a few tips on what you can do to prepare for more border checks in April:

If you’re looking for further information on anything to do with Brexit or how our UKCS team can help you through it, get in touch today!

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