Posted January 4, 2021 9:29 pm by

UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins

The UK government is concerned that truckers will turn up at Dover without the proper paperwork, causing delays © AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS

Dover, United Kingdom, Jan 4 – UK ports on Monday sailed through the first working day since Britain left the EU’s single market and customs union, with preparations for post-Brexit trade holding firm as traffic remained muted.

The country embarked on life outside the European Union late Thursday but with the light holiday season traffic, there has so far been little sign of long-feared disruption.

The government and many logistics operators have feared teething problems as officials on both sides of the Channel implement new customs systems after decades of frictionless trade.

At Dover in southeast England, Europe’s busiest port for roll-on, roll-off freight and where more lorries were expected to make continental crossings Monday, traffic remained light but free-flowing.

“We’re quite happy with how it’s gone… the vast majority of freight traffic have a green light to go,” Chris Parker, of DFDS — one of two ferry companies operating services from the port to northern France — told BBC News.

“As we expected, the traffic’s been much less than last year,” he said, noting freight was always quiet in the new year and expected to build up again “over the next week or two”.

A DFDS spokeswoman said its cross-Channel traffic through Dover in the first two days of 2021 was down by more than half on last year.

Figures from port officials confirmed the freight reduction in recent days, with 2,237 lorries passing through Dover on December 31, falling to just 673 on New Year’s Day and 914 on Sunday.

“Traffic has continued to flow smoothly through the port since the Brexit transition (ended),” a port spokesperson said.

– Smooth sailing –

EU-bound lorry drivers must now carry a slew of new paperwork, and those using Dover must get a Kent Access Permit prior to setting off to show they have all necessary documentation.

Cameras will identify any trucks without the permit, and drivers face fines of up to £300 ($410, 334 euros) for entering the county without one.

UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins

Authorities aim to avoid backlogs similar to one created late last year when France closed its border owing to fears over a new variant of the coronavirus © AFP/File / BEN STANSALL

The government, which has employed 1,000 new border officials, devised the permit over fears Read More…UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins  UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins  UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins  UK’s Brexit plans hold up as first working week of 2021 begins