UK supply chain will need better-resourced HM Customs service

UK supply chain

The Road Haulage Association has warned that leaving the European single market will “add a degree of administrative cost” to UK transport operators and could slow down the supply chain.

“We need to maintain fluidity through the ports for the trucks that provide a vital trade service,” said the RHA’s Chief Executive Richard Burnett.  

“Should the UK exit the Single Market and the Customs Union, it is clear that HM Customs will need significantly greater resources than at present.  We will have to have the ability to clear Customs without delay, 24/7, and the Customs resource, as it stands, would not be able to cope.

“We are calling on the government to establish a working group to scale up Customs resources in time for Brexit.  It should include representatives from the international freight industry to ensure confidence that we will be ready for the change.  It is essential for supply chains in manufacturing, food distribution and retail that HMRC has sufficient resources to cope from Day 1 with the increased volume.

“Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will inevitably add a degree of administrative cost.  Far more damaging, however, would be if the supply chain slowed down as a result of an HMRC logjam.”

The RHA’s other concern is to ensure that the industry retains the ability to bring workers in from abroad where they are needed.  For example, around 60,000 foreign lorry drivers currently work in the UK and the RHA believes that the industry would not function properly without them.