Peace around the ports towards the United Kingdom is not everything

Freight traffic to the United Kingdom (UK) has been quiet this week. But experts warn that this could give a distorted picture, and that problems could arise if inventory increases.

This is a millennial moment. Just as the Big Millennium Error failed to act on January 1, 2000, so did the major Brexit issues on January 1, 2021. But that’s not all, experts say. The first week of January it was very quiet. A quarter of normal traffic passed through ports.

So it was quiet in the special parking areas for undocumented trucks. This is expected to increase. In addition, the British introduced import duties in phases.

Well prepared

Dutch Customs finds that some companies are very ready for the new reality. But there are plenty of companies that don’t.

Shortly before the start of this year, the main message of the Department of Agriculture was that there would be no import and export tariffs on goods traded between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). It is very simple for ‘mixed products’. Companies must prove that a product was actually manufactured in the EU, otherwise fees will apply.


Before the Brexit transition period expired, many companies in the United Kingdom had large stockpiles. That’s also one reason why it was quiet in ports last week. Glad Johann Osinga, international adviser to the LDO Netherlands, believes that high-risk traffic has certainly been postponed.

Despite the peace, according to Osinga, there was still a lot to go wrong. ‘It’s mainly about the documents. UK customs are strict. For example, if the exporter’s address is incorrect, you are stuck. ‘

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Transportation to Ireland has also become very difficult. Ireland is not an important export country for the Netherlands, but it will have a significant impact on the companies involved.

Many food items are transported through British territory between Ireland and other parts of the European Union. Numerous European companies still ship products to British distribution centers, after which they are shipped to Ireland. Every year 150,000 lorries cross the British Land Bridge.

Boat links

Transportation of goods between Ireland and ports on French territory can often be done via direct ferry connections. The number of connections and departures is expanding and the Irish are busy setting up new ferry services. Boat operator Stena Line has doubled the capacity of the direct freight route between Rossler and Cherbourg.

Although travel time at direct sea crossings to the European continent is high, Irish exporters and importers are already making extensive use of them.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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