Trucks lined up behind ports in UK due to border checks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Cargo trucks are seen lining up on a road into the Port of Dover, in Dover, Britain, on December 16, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Hundreds of trucks have built up extremely long lines at the Port of Dover in the UK as a result of border checks and controls brought in by the Brexit deal.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper on Friday, a transport driver who had repeatedly caught up on the roads leading to the port of Dover said that since full customs controls came into effect at the beginning of January, the length of lines has reached more than 15 km.

“It’s entirely Brexit – you can’t blame it on anything else but Brexit,” said the British driver, adding that it takes 20 minutes for each driver to clear the essential check, making the other drivers wait for hours and sometimes days.

According to the UK government’s new Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) system, applied since January 1, truck drivers need to register on an IT platform in order to be able to transport goods into or out of Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

“People will get to grips with GVMS and the new paperwork in the weeks ahead. But even if they don’t take as long, checks still take time,” the driver said, warning that “the queues are bound to get worse when traffic flows pick up next month.”

After the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the country is no longer a member of the bloc’s single trade market, and subsequently, its border transportation with the EU is subject to extra checks and controls.

UK port chiefs have urged the government to negotiate with the EU on ways to ease further checks set to come in later in 2022, which could have a crippling effect on trade.

Labour MP Ruth Cadbury, a member of the transport select committee, told The Independent, “There are clearly issues with congestion at Dover. There is no doubt the regulatory changes from Brexit are causing delays.”

The development comes as the Logistics UK trade association warned in December last year that the new biometric checks could lead to 27-km tailbacks.

Transport select committee chair Huw Merriman said the potential for significant traffic delays could be a “disaster” for trade if it were to impact supply chains. “That per-vehicle movement will end up causing a 17-mile delay back into Kent and that would be a disaster for the local economy and a disaster for trade as well,” said the Tory MP.

Earlier last year, the challenging situation created by Brexit for drivers prompted them to go on strike and cause troubles for the supply chain in the country.

According to the reports, most people in the UK are complaining that the government has not made good on its arrangements for exiting the EU other than just going through the exit, with the fate of regulations about fishing, farming, and finance still up in the air.

A new poll released by the Opinium earlier this month found that more than six in 10 British voters believe Brexit has either gone badly or worse than they expected.

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