Freight companies have expressed “dismay” over new customs controls at the UK border which will begin in the new year, MSPs have been told.
A requirement for full customs declarations on goods coming from the EU to the UK will start on January 1, with further post-Brexit border controls being phased in later in the year.
A Holyrood committee heard that the initial change will lead to “quite a lot of bureaucracy” for hauliers.
The Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee heard from a number of figures in the logistics and transportation industry on Wednesday as part of its investigation into supply chains.
Robert Windsor, of the British International Freight Association, said a number of new customs checks will be coming into force in 2022.
“The customs changes coming in on January 1 are very significant,” he said.
“In effect, you are seeing the UK reimposing full customs controls on all goods coming from the European Union into the UK.”
One of the changes will be a need for pre-notification of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, covering products of animal origin.
Mr Windsor continued: “It is quite a lot of bureaucracy to go through.
“My view and the association’s view is these are more significant impacts on the UK as a whole than what we saw on January 1 this year.”
Bryan Hepburn, operations manager with logistics firm DFDS, also gave evidence to the committee.
Asked about the changes on January 1, he said: “We view the whole thing with just a kind of exclamation of dismay.”
He said he hopes the changes will not lead to bottlenecks at ports which he has experienced recently.
Seafood being transported to continental Europe from Scotland may be affected, he said, while DFDS is working with its customers to ensure they know about the new rules.
“We’re actively preparing and we’re hoping that we’re going to be ready,” he added.
In September, the UK Government said it was delaying implementing a number of border controls in response to the pandemic.
Requirements for export health certificates were pushed back to July 2022 after originally being scheduled for October this year.New customs rules will take effect from January 1 (Joe Giddens/PA)