Comment by David Savage, UK&I MD for Geotab in response to UK warns of 7,000-truck queues to cross Channel after January 1
“According to the latest reports, 40% to 70% of HGVs carrying essential goods to and from the UK may not have completed the necessary paperwork for their goods. This in turn may result in 70 mile, 2 day queues of lorries through Kent, not to mention steep fines. To suggest this is a “reasonable” worst case scenario in the lead up to the busiest time of year is very concerning. Businesses, whose very livelihoods are already in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty thanks to COVID-19, cannot possibly be expected to cater for this additional level of disruption. The life of the retailers and business over this Christmas period and New Year hinges on these plans, particularly as many cannot afford to stockpile and rely on an ‘on-demand’ supply chain over the coming months.
“Take a simple scenario of fresh goods. Reducing shelf-life by 2 days is almost unthinkable, especially at a time when consumers may once again begin stockpiling as infection rates continue to rise. Health supplies and PPE could also be stuck on roads or in these lorry parks rather than reaching those in desperate need of it.
“We urge the Government to invest in the robust digital infrastructure needed for near-frictionless movement of goods and vehicles, as license plate scanning and “yes” or “no” questions aren’t enough. HGVs already, by EU law, have a base level of technology (tachographs) in the driver cabin. This is a huge opportunity for the UK to set a world leading example of customs management and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. The foundations are there and ready. The technology exists, but the government must invest and consult with industry properly if it is to save our businesses and highstreet.”