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'Shambolic' - Technical Hitch Results In Truck Queues At UK Border Control Point

Britain’s new phytosanitary regulations continue to cause problems for importers, with major queues reportedly plaguing the only 24-hour border facility.

Sources told The Loadstar a technical glitch in the automatic licence verification system, which links the Custom Declaration Service and the new Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS), had caused a backlog of trucks at Sevington.

One driver at the site said: “There are approximately 300 HGVs waiting at the Sevington border facility, and I was told that they would not be permitting a blanket release.”

They added that, as a result, UK food and environment ministry Defra was going through and manually releasing imports, requiring drivers to email shipment details to be checked before they could be released.

However, a spokesperson for HMRC denied the length of the queue.  “I can advise that at no point have there been 300 vehicles waiting to be released on site at Sevington,” they claimed.

One broker told The Loadstar that, while one of their imports from yesterday had cleared, others were “in limbo”, adding that clients had been “scared-off” from using Sevington until tomorrow in the hope the situation would ease.

The purpose-built Sevington site in Kent is the country’s only government-operated facility with inspectors working on a 24/7 basis.

Industry bodies – particularly those caught up in the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) second stage – had warned having only a single facility offering 24/7 processing was not sufficient and made a mockery of the government push for the private sector to fund and build facilities.

At the time of writing, HMRC had not responded to The Loadstar’s request for comment on the severity of the delays at Sevington, which can handle 1,200 trucks a day.

But it follows yet another difficult introduction for post-Brexit border checks after the implementation of the stage two of the BTOM, requiring imports to undergo physical checks at the border before being admitted, described by one broker as “shambolic”.

“We have multiple HGVs being held at Dover and at Hull and HMRC/DEFRA seemingly do not know how to release them,” the broker told The Loadstar yesterday.


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