This week countless rows of trucks were stranded for hours on the roads to and from the port of Dover on the south coast of England. There is a scenario for queues of up to 100 kilometers from 7,000 trucks that will wait in ports for two days.
Food shortages, queues and traffic jams in ports and customs. This is expected to be the situation in Britain from January 1, as three weeks before the deadline and everything shows that the country is heading towards a tough Brexit. The business associations are clearly worried about the difficulties they will face if there is no prospect of an agreement with the former partners of Old Albion.
“While British companies are still hoping for a deal, all indications are that companies in all sectors will face a major upheaval,” said Darren Jones, chairman of the British Parliament’s Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. during the week with representatives of the business world of the country.
Speaking to the BBC, James Simbley, head of international relations at the British Federation of Small Enterprises (FSB), predicted “terrible problems and unrest in January”. Following a survey, FSB members found that just one-third of British businesses are ready for Brexit. Britain’s drama, however, is that it does not have to wait until January to see the problem. She has already got a taste of the chaotic situations that await her.
Traffic jams have been common in the country’s ports for weeks, causing cracks in supply chains. Many companies are trying to show foresight by ordering large volumes of stocks on time, while others are doing the same to boost their production and make up for what they lost this year due to the pandemic. Logistics groups report a surge in demand from companies trying to import components, products and food as soon as possible before the country exits the single market and customs union.
This week countless rows of trucks were stranded for hours on the roads to and from the port of Dover on the south coast of England. The Eurotunnel freight entrance to the Channel Tunnel is also relatively inseparable.
And many fear that the situation will get out of hand as the deadline expires and their hopes for an agreement with Brussels are fading. A report by the British government since September concludes that “in the worst but most realistic case”, queues of up to 100km will be formed from 7,000 trucks waiting in port for two days. The reason will be the lack of proper documents, as the government anticipates that most trucks will not have been procured.
According to a report in the Financial Times, a special government unit called “D20” (December 2020) has been staffed and is studying possible chaotic scenarios. Among other things, it is examining the possibility of rapid winter rainfall that will cause flooding in truck parking lots, power outages and fuel shortages. According to the British newspaper, the Minister of Transport, Grand Saps, has instructed the competent authorities to reserve space in order to park the trucks in case of emergency. He has even signed a contract for 77 million pounds for the next six months.
Some members of the House of Lords have expressed concern that there will be no toilets for truck drivers when trapped near ports. The fact that there are no toilets in the areas near the ports is an indication of how little Britain has prepared for the transition to the post-Brexit era. Typical is the question posed to the government by the chair of the House of Lords committee, Baroness Verma, “if the government has considered how and where can truck drivers turn when they have a physical need and are trapped in long queues?” Or how will they take their legal break?
Meanwhile, the British are expressing fears of food shortages. Asked on Thursday whether families should collect food, a spokesman for the Johnson government tried to reassure citizens, saying “we have a resilient supply chain”. He added, however, that the D20 government committee was staffed as part of “preparations for various scenarios” and “for any other pressures we may face during the winter season”.
At the same time, however, Tudor Price, head of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, points out that 60% of British companies remain unprepared.
As he stressed, they are “hurt and injured” by the pandemic and are unhappy with the indecision shown by the government. And he concludes, “we had four years to make a deal and yes, that’s happening, business is up in the air.”