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Britain steps up haulage preparations for busiest trade route post-Brexit

Thu, 22nd Oct 2020 12:28

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday it would
bring in legislation to try to minimise major delays and
disruption at one of its busiest trade routes when it fully
leaves the European Union.

In September, the government said there could be queues of
7,000 trucks in southeast England waiting to travel to Europe if
businesses failed to get the right paperwork in place.

The government said it would now bring forward legislation
to enforce Operation Brock, its strategy for managing traffic
flow heading to and from the port of Dover in Kent, and
providing holding parking spaces for thousands of trucks if
needed.

Under the rules, heavy goods vehicles will need to obtain a
digital Kent Access Permit before they enter the county or face
a fine of 300 pounds, to enable the smooth flow of traffic
onwards to the Channel Tunnel and Dover from where trucks travel
into France and the European Union.

With just over two months until the end of the transition
period, it is not yet clear what sort of relationship Britain
and the EU will have from January.

The two sides are due to resume talks later on Thursday,
marking a new push to regulate billions of dollars worth of
trade.

The government said it was also launching a communications
campaign to help hauliers prepare for the changes and would set
up dozens of information sites across Britain to offer
assistance.

Truckers should also apply for a European Conference of
Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit as a precautionary measure,
the government added, as these will be needed if there is no new
trading relationship agreed.

"By putting in place these plans we’re ensuring Kent keeps
moving, our fantastic haulage industry is supported, and trade
continues to flow," Transport Minister Grant Shapps said in a
statement.

Lorries carrying time-sensitive exports such as fresh and
live seafood and day-old chicks will be prioritised at the
border, added the government.

Dover handles 17 percent of the United Kingdom’s goods
trade. Up to 10,000 trucks a day pass through with everything
from perishable food to medicines.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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