Wednesday to Sunday!
31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
The government has told industry body Logistics UK, that the system will not be ready for January 1st, 2021. The Smart Freight System is designed to avoid congestion caused by new customs checks at key ports such as Dover when UK leaves the EU single market at the end of December.
Beta testing will commence in mid-December and will not be completed until April. The logistics industry has warned the government that forcing businesses to use a new IT system to process billions of pounds of exports before it has been fully tested has the potential for chaos.
So far, only one site, in Ashford, Kent, has been bought by the government to hold lorries in the event of congestion. The site has the capacity to house 2,000 vehicles, although a government planning document seen by the Guardian newspaper puts the figure expected to be needed at 7,000. The government reportedly has further sites under consideration.
Lorries crossing the border from January will encounter a range of authorities with Home Office requirements on passports and visas for incoming drivers, Department for Transport checks for driver permits, HM Revenue & Customs for potential tariffs and customs declarations, and the Department for the Environment responsible for animal and food safety checks.