Even the most hardened Brexiteer could not say, hand on heart, that the situation for shippers after leaving the European Union are the sunlit uplands they had hoped for.
As the dust settles and new routines and requirements are worked out the companies responsible for ferrying trucks across the Channel are doing what they can to smooth the path of hauliers.
With the next set of border requirements, for cargo movements from Europe to the UK, introduced on 1st January 2022, P&O Ferries is introducing a new digital ‘Travel Wallet’, a product of the CARGOES (formerly CNS) stable, completely free of charge, which it claims will help hauliers navigate the pre-journey process and make it as simple as possible for all drivers checking-in at their ports.
The Travel Wallet will help customers identify which documents are required for each movement based on the route and the cargo being shipped. Customers can also use it to verify the documents and then save the digital paperwork in the tool, generating one barcode that can be used by drivers at check-in, removing any language barriers and allowing drivers simply to scan and go.
The border requirements introduced in January last year, led to reports of confusion across the industry on what declarations were required for each journey and incorrect paperwork being presented at port check-ins, which led to increased waiting times. P&O Ferries believes the innovative new tool will help reduce check-in times and queues at ports significantly, estimating that it could reduce check-in times by up to 50%.
Peter Hebblethwaite, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, explains: “The new border regulations add complexity, time and cost to all areas of the process, but they are here to stay and will become business-as-usual over time. We believe it is up to everyone in the sector to do all they can to simplify the processes to make them as efficient as possible, and this is something P&O Ferries is committed to.
“We have been speaking to our customers regularly over the last year about the difficulties they are facing, and we have been monitoring the impact at our ports in order to identify the common issues, so that we can design ways to improve these either at the pre-journey process stage, or on the day of travel.
“One issue we have found at check-in is that drivers, who may not speak the local language at the port, are often not sure what paperwork they should have ready, which can lead to dozens of documents being passed to our employees to work through. We understand that this is difficult for the drivers, and we want to help in any way we can.”
The company says customers using the Travel Wallet, now available on the P&O Ferries Dover to/from Calais route, will also be able to access the other Brexit easing products offered on DP World’s CARGOES Community platform. Its BEEMS Border Management Products are a set of cloud-based solutions aimed at providing one easy to use system for businesses managing movements across borders on RoRo routes between the UK and EU, providing direct access to all the relevant customs systems.
The BEEMS Pre-lodgement product provides single-point access to the UK (GVMS), and French (Douane) systems where users can generate the essential records (GMRs), and get real-time status updates on an easy-to-read dashboard. The firm’s Safety and Security Declarations product is an easy-to-use platform for creating and submitting these mandatory declarations for the GB and France and its Customs Declarations product is an HMRC compliant software platform designed to support both UK customs CHIEF and CDS systems for processing declarations.
Matthew Bradley, Managing Director of CNS/CARGOES Community in the UK, said: “Our BEEMS Border Management Products are aimed at minimising the disruption caused by the new paperwork requirements, to ensure the flow of cargo continues as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
"These products are now live, with some enhancements and new routes planned for later in the year. The final full suite of products will offer solutions for all areas of the supply chain involved in importing and exporting in and out of the UK.
“The Travel Wallet is a significant part of that suite of products and will make a big difference for the people dealing with the pre-travel paperwork as well as for the drivers, therefore we are absolutely thrilled our partners at P&O Ferries are offering it to their customers free of charge. It is a neutral solution that could be used by any ferry operator, and we hope it is adopted elsewhere in the market.
“The Travel Wallet provides drivers with one umbrella barcode that we can scan in a matter of seconds, helping to reduce waiting times and queues for every vehicle that comes into our ports. It can also send customs status updates to users keeping them informed ahead of every step of the journey.”