Today’s announcement that government intends to spend £30m on upgrades to port infrastructure, road and rail links is also welcome news, but will be of limited benefit if traders are not supported with clear and accurate instructions on how to ensure all shipments are “border ready”.
The Department for Transport is today calling on ports across England to bid for a share of £10m to enhance capacity and maintain trade flow – the RHA will be interested to see what facilities will be put in place to deal with infrastructure limitations that will slow the throughput of lorries through roll-on/roll-off ports.
Government will provide £5m to four key local resilience forums in areas with key freight ports for infrastructure improvements to minimise traffic disruption at the border. A further £15m will go towards longer-term projects to boost road and rail links to ports and ensure more freight can get where it needs to be faster. How this £15m will be used has not been announced yet – how this is used will be critical.
Commenting, RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “Of course we welcome government’s commitment to making ports Brexit ready but as with all infrastructure improvements they take time and that is a commodity that we do not have.
“Our concerns are much more immediate. There is still a lack of clarity as regards the paperwork and processes needed to maintain free-flowing traffic. If one haulier is found to have incorrect documents then the knock-on effects will be catastrophic. No amount of infrastructure improvements will be able to cope with tailbacks of traffic resulting from one truck having incorrect or missing paperwork.”