The volume of goods going through British ports to the European Union has fallen by as much as 68% since Brexit, according to the Road Haulage Association, as the UK grapples with its new trading relationship with the bloc.
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The number of customs brokers need to be increased fivefold to help firms with extra checks, Richard Burnett, chief executive officer of the RHA, wrote in a letter to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove dated Feb. 1. The trade group estimates there are only 10,000 agents in place so far, about a fifth of what’s needed.
“The current situation should not be considered a consequence of Covid,” Burnett wrote in the letter. “If anything, the absence of the pandemic would have made it worse, because volumes would be greater.”
Freight firms have been shunning the U.K since it left the bloc’s single market on Dec. 31, with additional checks creating hours-long queues and extra costs for exporters.
In addition to the decline in goods crossing the border, between 65% and 75% of vehicles that arrived from the EU were returning empty because there were no goods for them to transport, the Observer reported, citing RHA’s Burnett.
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