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Brexit UK/EU border crossing update

Kent lorry border crossing We are still a way off friction-less trade between the UK and EU given the agreed zero tariff and zero quota regime. Widespread disruption at the UK/EU border crossing has been caused by the increased burden of bureaucracy.

UK/EU border crossing update – behind the scenes, drivers and shipments are being held up for hours and even days because they lack the right documents, some of these complex changes actually make it simpler to send something from the UK to Ghana, rather than sending goods to Germany.

It is the smaller to medium businesses that seem to have been hit the hardest as they struggle with the new paperwork requirements and additional costs.

Forwarders are needed more than ever. They act as a transport brokers, and as well as completing the customs paperwork, they also advise shippers on savings – both financially and on transit times. Keeping your supply chain moving 

New border checks and additional paperwork have caught many businesses by surprise. Leading to some firms halting trade with the continent. Nim’s Fruit Crisps, based locally in Sittingbourne, would usually source raw materials for its air-dried fruit and vegetable crisps from European providers. But delays with Spain meant they looked elsewhere, and imported lemons from Egypt via sea freight instead, despite shipping in weeks, rather than by lorry within 48 hours, it most importantly protected their supply chain. Fortnum & Mason has stopped deliveries to Northern Ireland and countries in the European Union, and Debenhams shut its online business in Ireland.

We have been seeing businesses holding back on import and exports, waiting for the new systems to bed in. But after the initial lull, demand for transport with Europe is increasing, last week increasing to 78% of the average for the time of year. This is affecting rates, and with some courier, pallet, and freight carriers not accepting UK-bound consignments, the cost of moving full truckloads from France to the UK has risen significantly.

French customs officialWith vehicles spending 3-5% longer at UK borders, having even 30-60 minutes more waiting time is an issue. This has led to supermarket shortages in Northern Ireland, border disruption for Scottish seafood exporters and difficulties for professional musicians trying to travel to the EU.

But as freight capacities increase, so will the length of delays, if more and more vehicles are held for processing.


We urge all Hauliers to go to their closest Information Advice Site with a testing facility, to ensure they have everything they require before travelling into Kent. You can check your closest advice site on

Check vehicles have paperwork in order before the freight arrives in Kent.

The Kent Access Permit (KAP) – is issued electronically to vehicles whose suppliers have to testify they have all their paperwork for the Channel crossing in order.

The Cabinet Office said 18,000 KAPs had been issued so far and around 700 lorries have been turned away from the border with a further 150 fines handed out for non-compliance.

You need a KAP if your HGV is both:

  • leaving Great Britain from the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel
  • over 7.5 tonnes

You will need a permit even if the HGV is not carrying goods, for example only carrying post.

Each permit is valid for 24 hours. You need a new permit each time the HGV leaves Great Britain.

HGV drivers travelling to or via France must also have proof of an authorised negative COVID test before arriving in Kent, or any UK port.Haulier Covid-19 testing sites As with any new processes, the first few weeks were always going to be a sharp learning curve, and the new UK/EU requirements will become the norm.

The new regulations are adding complexity and process, which increases time, resource and costs. Under the new rules, shipments should be pre-cleared and rules of origin will be enforced, with EU officials on the lookout for third-country products and components – So it is critical that all commercial invoices carry an appropriate declaration of origin.

The shortfall in customs brokers is also a massive issue, many more trained staff are required to fill out the expected 500 million annual customs declarations. Current lack of resource has left many shippers unable to find the support they need.  Exporters are struggling to acquire the required transit documents, because of a shortage of agents with the authority to issue them.

Transit documents, which allow goods to enter the European Union without delay require Custom’s authorisation and a financial guarantee, to cover any taxes or duties on the goods being moved.  Firms wanting to apply for a transit guarantee or increase the size of their existing one are struggling because of delays at HMRC.

We are here to support our clients and keep their supply chains moving, please speak one of the team about your import and export requirements. Tel: +44 (0)1622 237979 email

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