Cross-border goods trade with the European Union is almost back to normal levels, U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, despite concerns from haulers that post-Brexit paperwork is choking their operations.
The number of trucks leaving the U.K. for France via the Eurotunnel from the port of Dover is about 6,000 per day, approximately 1,000 a day fewer than at the same point last year, the minister told Parliament’s transport committee.
Some of the decline is down to stockpiling of goods in the run-up to the deadline of Dec. 31, when the U.K. left the EU customs and market regimes, he said. Only about 3% of trucks are being turned back as they try to leave and that is partly because drivers need to take coronavirus tests, Shapps told the panel.
“The flow has come up throughout the whole of January,” he said. “We are nearly at normal levels.”
Shapps said “worst-case scenario” scenes of 40-mile long queues of trucks at the border have not materialized as a result of Brexit.
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But he added that there were two exceptions to the generally smooth picture for trade—fishing, and difficulties with goods traveling from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.