The British International Freight Association (BIFA), has issued a response to the latest NAO report regarding the likelihood of widespread border disruption at the end of the post-EU exit transition period, stating it comes as “no great surprise”.
In the report the NAO revealed that it was “unlikely” that all traders, industry and third parties will be ready for the end of the transition period and recognised that there will be disruption and is putting in place “arrangements” to monitor issues as they emerge.
BIFA said that the NAO assessment “corresponds” with what it is hearing from its members, which believe that it will “take some time” for a fully functioning border to be put in place.
The group also anticipates that the businesses which use its members’ freight forwarding and logistics services to conduct cross-border trade between the EU and the UK, will feel the “impact” of a sub-optimal border to varying degrees.
It also acknowledged that, of late, the government has “increasingly” been putting in place coping responses where it can.
Robert Keen, director general of BIFA said: “BIFA members are still waiting for the government to provide complete information and clarity on the processes by which cross-border trade will be conducted at the end of the year: the systems that will underpin those processes and assurance that those systems, which have yet to be tested, will actually work and be able to do what is necessary.
He added: “Even before the pandemic, our members were concerned that the 11-month transition wouldn’t leave enough time to prepare for all the reasons mentioned in the latest NAO assessment.
“Having had their businesses affected badly by the effects of the pandemic, we really do continue to wonder whether they, and the clients they serve, will have the capacity to increase readiness for a sharp change in trading practices and conditions from the start of next year.”