Daunting new paperwork may trigger border delays that may break complete shipments — and their companies.
Unloading sacks of scallops from a fishing boat at Oban, Scotland, final week.Credit…Russell Cheyne/Reuters
- Jan. 13, 2021Updated 12:56 p.m. ET
LONDON — Loaded with tons of reside crab, lobster and prawns, the vans headed south from the Scottish city of Oban needed to attain their vacation spot in Spain inside 72 hours to make certain the cargo would survive the journey.
But with Britain working new post-Brexit buying and selling guidelines, a journey that was routine is now a high-stakes gamble for the exporter Paul Knight, managing director of PDK Shellfish.
“It is like roulette,” stated Mr. Knight, as he waved off two large vans, including that although he spent tens of hundreds of kilos on Brexit preparations he remained terrified that holdups in French ports may trigger a big a part of his cargo to perish.
“We are as Brexit-ready as we can be and we are still staring failure in the face,” he stated.
“I am exhausted, the pressure is so intense — it is like being on a knife edge,” he added.
Since Britain accomplished the ultimate stage of Brexit on Jan. 1 and left the European Union’s single market and customs union, the world has modified for British exporters to the continent and never in a great way.
Despite a commerce deal, struck by Britain and the European Union on Christmas Eve, guarantees as soon as made by Brexit campaigners that leaving the bloc would free companies from needless bureaucracy now sound like a macabre joke. Consignments that beforehand moved with minimal fuss now need voluminous paperwork together with customs declarations and, for meals merchandise, well being certificates.
Some British firms have suspended gross sales to continental Europe and even to Northern Ireland,