All quiet on the UK/EU border front?

Fears of massive backlogs at ports once the UK left the EU appear to have been unfounded but it seems that may be due more to low traffic volumes than the smooth running of border posts. The first couple of weeks of any new year are traditionally a slow period for haulage traffic and more so in 2021 because of the furious stockpiling which went on in December as companies hedged their bets against possible major disruptions to trade at the end of the Brexit transition period (and possibly for Covid-related reasons).* Breaking news: On 13 January, Ferry company DFDS announced an increase in freight of 28% in December 2020 – read about it in detail here.

Image to illustrate article

However, all has not been smooth sailing as this BBC article reveals. For instance, despite the Department for Transport’s declaration that at least 90% of lorries trying make the Dover-Calais ferry crossing or going through the Channel Tunnel had the correct paperwork, including proof of a negative test for coronavirus, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said 1 in 5 lorries are being turned away from the ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Dover.


Other salient points from the article include:

  1. DFDS also tweeted that large volumes were being turned away from Calais, Dunkerque and Dover due to incorrect paperwork

  2. A Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) spokesperson says there was a lack of preparation by some businesses and a lack of capacity from the customs brokers that they employed to help

  3. The Sainsbury’s boss said that while the flow of goods had been going well so far, the real test would be in a few weeks when normal levels of traffic resumed

  4. There have been many reports of businesses in the UK suspending deliveries to the EU and vice versa, as they wait to see whether such trade will still be profitable as new duties/VAT rules kick in

  5. There have been major issues with the new Northern Ireland regulations

All in all, everything points to a fairy lengthy period of uncertainty, adjustment, and costly and time consuming extra paperwork ahead. As always, coming from a transport management system (TMS) angle, we maintain that any transport operator who is not operating a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) TMS is making life hard for themselves from a management, reporting, form-filling and logistical point of view.


If you’re interested in knowing more about Deltion’s own CarrierNet TMS, please contact Bashir Khan here.


*The RHA estimated that there were about 2,000 lorries a day in each direction making the Dover-Calais ferry crossing and going through the Channel Tunnel compared with a normal daily figure of between 5,000-6,000.