Exports from British ports to EU fall 68 percent after Brexit


Published: 2021-02-07 14:33

Last Updated: 2024-06-15 18:02

Source: BBC
Source: BBC

Exports from British ports to the European Union decreased by 68 percent in January compared to the same period last year, according to the Road Transport Association, which attributed this to Brexit and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The president of the Association, Richard Burnett, revealed this decline in a letter addressed Feb. 1 to Secretary Michael Gove, which was reviewed by the British magazine "The Observer," and based on a survey conducted by the Association with its international members.

According to the magazine, Burnett said that the decline is mainly due to "the massive increase in transactions that exporters have had to make" since leaving the European Union. He called on the British government to increase the number of customs employees assigned to assisting companies, considering that the current number of 10 thousand employees represents "only a fifth of what is necessary."

"I think it is very disappointing and disturbing that the ministers chose not to listen to the sector and the experts," he added, assuring the magazine that he "warned" Gove "repeatedly in the past months" of the results.

Jan. 31, 2020, the United Kingdom formally left the European Union, but it continued to follow European rules during a transition period that ended Dec. 31, after which it withdrew from the EU single market.

Despite the signing of a trade agreement at the last minute between the two parties, the British government warned companies of the possibility of "disturbances in the short term."

British exporters have to fill out a number of documents to prove that their goods are authorized on the European single market, which further complicates the already long and costly procedures and delays the passage of goods across borders.

In response to "The Observer" questions, a spokesperson for Minister Gove said that he was "not aware of the export figures" announced by the Road Transport Association, stressing that "delays at the borders have been very limited so far" and that "the movement of cargo transportation is still almost as usual." 

The director of the British Ports Association Richard Ballantyne said that the 68 percent that the Road Transport Association had spoken of was "consistent in general" with what he observed of a decline in the transport of goods.