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Ports nonplussed about UK’s new border operating strategy

The UK government has finally published its Target Operating Model (TOM), which details the post Brexit border control arrangements and confirms that much of the specially built port infrastructure is likely to be surplus to requirements.

The TOM describes a new regime which should see notably less goods subject to sanitary and phytosanitary inspections at Border Control Posts, which were prepared at great cost and in rapid time.

Commenting, Richard Ballantyne Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, which represents port operators that collectively facilitate 86% of the UK’s trade, said;

”Whilst many in the freight industry will welcome the long awaited publication of the TOM, in many ways the document is a bitter pill to swallow as much of the hundreds of millions of pounds of both public and private investment, not to mention the huge collective effort there has been to develop the network of new Border Control Posts (BCPs), is likely to be wasted.

The TOM confirms that far less border interventions will be required, as a new environmental health control regime is implemented at our international gateways.

Whilst this is good in terms of the facilitation of cargo through our frontiers, our ports have had to build infrastructure that is likely not to be needed. This leaves our sector out of pocket and with costly large ‘white elephant’ structures on their estates. We are keen that the government picks up much of these costs, otherwise port customers and trade could face additional charges.

Also, as the TOM has been delayed for the best part of six months, there is now only a limited amount of time to modify and prepare facilities for the new arrangements.”

Richard Ballantyne, CEO BPA, OBE

The government’s TOM was published today for consultation and is available here.

TAGS: Borders, Brexit