British ports claim they are not ready for Brexit customs checks

A group of British ports are urging the government to delay the next wave of Brexit bureaucracy, claiming that border check-posts will not be ready for the July deadline, while the inland customs facilities that are being built are also behind schedule.

Brexit minister, Lord Frost, reportedly is considering reviewing plans for full customs checks on all imported goods, but pressure is building on ministers to push back their deadlines and set out measures for scaling back controls.

Since January 1, British exports to the European Union have been under control, but the British government decided to postpone import controls until the summer to allow traders time to prepare. However, starting from July 1, the ministers hope to conduct inspections at more than 30 designated border control points (BCP), where goods, animals and plants that enter the EU by sea, rail or air can be inspected.

The Guardian quoted Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the trade body British Ports Association (BPA) as saying: “It’s obvious not all of the facilities are going to be ready; how much of it will be is still up for debate. Our frustration with government is they are not willing to share what the plan B is.”

With less than four months to go, construction has only just started at ports including Portsmouth, Purfleet on Thames in Essex, and Killingholme on the Humber.

Furthermore, the location of some inland border checkpoints – such as Holyhead on Anglesey and in south-west Wales to serve the ports of Fishguard and Pembroke – has not even been announced yet. Worse still, the Kent site named White Cliffs, where goods arriving at Dover will be inspected, is described as a “muddy field”.

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