Last reviewed 14 February 2022

We reported recently on a report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) examining the problems caused for businesses trading with the EU that have arisen since Brexit (see Leading MPs’ Committee reports on the downsides of Brexit).

Responding to the PAC report, Logistics UK has warned that the Government needs to place an urgent focus on arrangements at the nation’s borders if trade and passenger traffic is not to grind to a halt from this summer onwards.

While the logistics sector has made huge strides in preparation for new border arrangements, the organisation’s head of European policy, Sarah Laouadi, notes, there is still much to do to keep the UK trading with its closest business market.

“The new EES passport checking system needs urgent attention, as it currently would require drivers to leave their vehicles and cross live traffic lanes in ports and terminals to undergo passport checks,” she points out.

According to the European Commission, the Entry/Exit System (EES) will be an automated IT system for registering travellers from third-countries (of which the UK is one), both short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travellers, each time they cross an EU external border.

Not only would this create safety risks, Ms Laouadi argues, but it will have a severe impact on the time it takes to cross the border with knock-on effects on traffic flows on both sides of the Channel.

“As we know,” she continues, “independent modelling has previously shown that a two-minute delay at the border could create up to 29 miles of queuing traffic and, while some friction is unavoidable after the UK’s departure from the EU, the potential time that the new system would take could be disastrous for the UK’s highly interconnected supply chains.”