The country’s largest lorry lobby group claims that Michael Gove does not know how many customs agents the UK will have available post-Brexit. They fear that there will be chaos at the border on 1 January, deal or no deal.
The government has said the UK will need at least 50,000 customs agents after the UK leaves the EU’s single market and customs union on 31 December.
Road Haulage Association boss Richard Burnett told City A.M. today that he had spoken to Gove numerous times in the past week and it was clear the minister did not know how many customs agents the UK had ready to deal with increased form filling and border checks come 1 January.
Burnett said there were not enough agents operating in the UK and that the freight industry was not prepared for changes at the border. “The complexity of what needs to be carried out between now and the end of the year is blowing businesses minds.”
The RHA boss said there would likely be long lorry queues in Kent even if a UK-EU trade deal is struck this year. Customs agents and customs brokerage firms operate in the private sector and are hired to help logistics companies organise border crossings. The government set up a £50m fund in a bid to increase the number of customs agents operating in the UK next year.