As the deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU draws closer, IBMATA chair Tony Smith has given his views in an expert panel discussion in the House of Commons .

The panel, chaired by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, took place on 17.10.2017 and discussed the topic of ‘Brexit – ready on day one to keep trade moving’.

Smith was joined on the panel by experts from the transport and logistics industries including Road Haulage Chief Executive Richard Burnett; Eurotunnel Director of Public Affairs at Eurotunnel John Keefe; and International Forwarding Director at Kuehne + Nagel, Mark Johnson.

Attendees included several industry experts and other MPs including Bernard Jenkin, Caroline Flint and Marcus Fysh.

‘No deal’ on Brexit before March 2019 could signal a requirement to introduce customs declarations on goods travelling between the UK and mainland Europe.

Smith said:

“Thousands of trucks cross the country’s borders every day, with lorries being the lifeblood of this nation.

“Preparations will be vital to ensure that traffic continues to flow freely in both directions, and cross border trade continues to flow without massive customs backlogs at the channel ports.

“Charlie Elphicke is right to raise these concerns at the highest possible level.

“I was Head of Ports and Borders in Canada on 9/11, and saw first hand the chaos caused as the US government closed the land border for a week.”

The panel agreed that there was an urgent need for industry and government to work together to keep trade moving, including agreeing additional data requirements and how these might be met without impeding the flow of traffic across the border.

This could include the use of simplified trusted trader schemes and the mutual recognition of specified goods, using ANPR and facial recognition technology.

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