Hauliers say exports to European Union are down 68pc since Brexit
A survey of international hauliers has found the volume of exports travelling from British ports to the EU fell 68 per cent last month compared to the same period last year.
The research by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) prompted it to write to Cabinet Minister Michael Gove to call for assistance, particularly with increasing the number of customs agents from 10,000 to 50,0000 to help firms with extra post-Brexit paperwork.
Chief executive Richard Burnett told The Observer that the RHA had also found 65-75 per cent of vehicles arriving from the EU were returning to the bloc empty due to a lack of goods, hold-ups in the UK and because British companies had halted exports to the continent.
Mr Burnett said he found it “deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts”, who have consistently called for greater consultation by Government.
He said Mr Gove had not responded in writing “pretty much every time we have written over the last six months”.
“He tends to get officials to start working on things. But the responses are a complete waste of time because they don’t listen to what the issues were that we raised in the first place,” Mr Burnett said.
The Government offered a six-month grace period following Brexit, allowing the suspension of the full range of physical checks on imports until July.
On Thursday, former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont warned red tape linked to the Brexit deal had rendered most business between Britain and Northern Ireland uneconomic.
Two weeks earlier, the RHA said a 12-month grace period and urgent financial aid were needed to iron out problems with the post-Brexit Irish Sea trade border.
The UK Government insisted “goods are flowing effectively” between Britain and Northern Ireland.
But Mr Burnett said on January 20: “This is a financial precipice haemorrhaging money.
“There needs to be financial intervention immediately.”