The spat over French fishing boat licences is set to create long delays on Christmas goods to and from the EU. Expect November customs chaos, warns ParcelHero.
The international delivery expert ParcelHero says France is preparing to step up checks on goods being transported to and from the UK through French ports. It warns the move will create long tailbacks and delay UK imports and exports in the vital pre-Christmas period.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T, says: “France and the UK are beating their chests at each other over the issue of fishing boat licences. The consequence of all this posturing could be the final straw for Brit’s Christmas this year.
“The French Government believes the UK has not honoured the terms of the Brexit deal over fishing boat licences. It is set to take unilateral action that will not only impact on Britain’s fishermen, but also dramatically slow customs clearance for Christmas goods at ports such as Calais.
“This is bad news for the UK’s hard-pressed retailers, manufacturers, logistics operators, and ultimately, shoppers.
“France’s Europe Minister, Clement Beaune, claims the only language Prime Minister Boris Johnson understands is ‘the language of force’. From 2nd November, the French Government says it will adopt ‘targeted measures’ including ‘the reinforcement of controls on lorries to and from the United Kingdom’.
“That means increased, more thorough, checks on goods bound to and from the UK. The French call the tactic ‘grieve de zele’ – effectively they will make their checks ‘overzealous’ in what amounts as a work-to-rule.
“Britain’s Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has responded by saying ‘two can play at that game’. He told the BBC this week that ‘we’ll reserve our right to do more things if France continue to press ahead with these threats’.
“ParcelHero is concerned any game of cross Channel tit-for-tat will further disrupt supplies of gifts and foods from Europe in the run-up to Christmas, as well as delay British exports during this vital period. Fishing boat licences are an important factor in the Brexit deal, but, proportionately, does the Government really want to threaten Christmas supplies still further and slow vital exports over the issue?”
ParcelHero’s in-depth analysis of the ongoing UK-EU trade problems and, in particular, the Northern Ireland Protocol agreement – currently the focus of new talks – can be seen HERE.