Realities of Brexit - two months on
It my not be the topic that people wish to hear about but if the realities of Brexit weren't apparent to the Brexiteers before embarking upon their project to downsize the UK economy, they must be thanking the pandemic for hiding the economic impact and what it means to business of becoming a 'third country'.
What is now obvious to UK farmers, fishermen and many other sectors of our economy and parts of the Union is that what Messrs Gove and Eustice claim to be 'teething problems' are no such thing but are the tip of things to come and the repercussions of leaving our closest and largest single market and customs union.
'Simple' slogans, like 'Eat more Fish' and solutions involving breaking International law slip so easily from the lips of their bumbling, blustering, boostering Master but the realities are there for all who wish to see.
The export of live shellfish to the EU requires nothing less than class A purification as the blindsided UK fishing industry has now to find new markets for much of its 333,000 tons of fish previously exported to the EU. The annual 20,000-tonne seed potato trade to the EU is now banned and France are turning to Spain for its lamb, all because we believe that we have taken back control of our borders.
Meanwhile Reuters LONDON report that the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) say "British meat processors are registering businesses in the EU with a view to setting up processing facilities and bypass post-Brexit export delays, with flows just 50% of normal levels and costs soaring, The industry group warned. the moves means Britain is losing jobs, as delays caused by customs checks at the border have all but halted small lorry loads of mixed meat products heading to the EU and Northern Ireland. Around 40% of British meat trade with the EU is sent in mixed or "grouped" loads. and it's now not viable to send a single lorry load of mixed products to different EU or Northern Irish customers to stock their shelves for the following few days," said the BMPA.
"The new system is adding an average of 30 hours into the (export) process; and costs are now around 60% higher than last year," he added, citing additional customs and veterinary charges, and soaring haulage and insurance costs.
Under the Brexit deal British trade with the EU remains free of tariffs and quotas on goods but is subject to third country customs checks. Britain, by contrast, is phasing in checks on EU goods over a six-month period.
Reuters further report that while the ports have run smoothly many small companies transporting fresh goods have warned that the additional cost and time taken to fill out the paperwork is making them uncompetitive. Many lorries are returning empty.
Transporeon Europe's largest supply chain and logistics technology platform, indicated that freight prices for moving goods by road from France to Britain rose by 50% in January compared with the same month a year ago after lorry drivers demanded higher payments to operate in the UK after Brexit,
Freight groups told Reuters that European drivers are setting higher prices to bring goods into Britain in case they have to return with an empty truck because of problems with customs paperwork introduced on Jan1st. Transporeon data, drawn from its network used by suppliers, retailers, shippers and more than 100,000 logistics service providers, also showed that drivers were rejecting jobs on France-to-Britain and Poland-to-Britain routes.
Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by David Evans
Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by William James