Post-Brexit delays at border posts not improving, survey found

Post-Brexit delays at border posts not improving, survey found

Problems at UK-European Union border posts are getting worse, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by the UK-based Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), found more than half (58%) of UK businesses report delays have got worse since the beginning of January when new post-Brexit trading procedures came into effect.

Some 30% of this group reported delays are "significantly longer" than they were when the new border rules first came into effect at the start of the year.   

The CIPS survey of 350 UK supply chain managers revealed new customs paperwork is continuing to cause problems

Some 63% of respondents had experienced delays of at least two to three days getting goods into the UK, up from 38% in a similar survey in January this year.

The situation is slightly better for exports, with 44% experiencing delays of at least two to three days getting goods into the EU.

CIPS found the main driver of delays is the time it takes for customs to work through new paperwork, with nearly half of businesses (47%) citing this as the main reason for the delays. 

Other customs issues such as a lack of capacity amongst customs staff and drivers being turned away for having the wrong paperwork were also cited by respondents.

CIPS points out that the delays come despite the fact many new import certifications are still yet to come into force. The extra checks are due to be phased in from April.

Dr John Glen, an economist at CIPS, said: "We are well into the second month of the new arrangements and the hope that delays at the border would reduce as freight volumes returned to normal and customs systems became used to the new processes has not come to pass. 

"What is even more concerning is that the delays are continuing to get longer, putting more and more pressure on the UK's supply chains and affecting the timely delivery of much-needed goods."

He warned that the knock-on impact of these delays will trickle far down the supply chain and "ultimately result in stock shortages and inflated prices for consumers". 

He added: "The paperwork required at the border is not going to change anytime soon, so we should brace ourselves for these delays to continue for at least the next few months."

The survey was conducted between 12 and 18 February.