Action on new Covid strain compounds pre-Brexit stockpiling at ports

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Queues at UK ports, especially Dover, Felixstow and Southampton, have been increasing as pre-Brexit stockpiling efforts from businesses on both sides of The Channel were compounded by a new strain of Covid-19. 

Some tailbacks have been longer than 10 miles last week as companies had been buying and selling additional components and goods in a bid to avoid increased levels of bureaucracy at the end of the transition period – now just 10 days away. 

What started as queues relating to business activity has been compounded by health and political action, with France closing its border with the UK for 48 hours to assess the new strain of Covid found in Southern England. The move means no lorries or ferry passengers are allowed to sail from the port of Dover. Operation Stack, the post-Brexit plan to create a lorry car part in Kent, has been put into operation early as a result. 

Unaccompanied freight in the form of containers can still be transported, but there are fears in the UK that French drivers won’t make the journey if they could get stuck, whilst exported goods and empty lorries returning to the continent face lengthy delays. 

Read more: Business groups urge Brexit negotiators to find compromise and agreement

Elsewhere, the Confederation of British Industry has called on the EU to delay introducing new customs checks immediately after Brexit as firms are still unprepared due to the pandemic. 

In a report published on Friday, the CBI stated that: “With time so short, both sides need to take steps to minimise disruption no matter the outcome. 

“Without them, much of the progress made recovering from the pandemic will be lost.”

If your organisation is one of the thousands who have been unable to fully prepare for Brexit, then our Brexit FastTrack service could help you #BeBrexitReady, and fast. Find out more here.

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