This is a crisis for supply chains just 11 days before the shock of Brexit. The French ban applies to inbound freight but many European drivers won’t head to the UK if they can’t immediately make the return trip. The next 48 hrs could be a preview of what’s coming in two weeks.
Ian Wright, @Foodanddrinkfed CEO: “Tonight’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies... Truckers will not want to travel here if they have a real fear of getting marooned.”
Statement from @LogisticsUKNews: “Shoppers should not panic buy – retailers will be making every effort to ensure there is stock within the system... We are maintaining close contact with HMG to ensure that supplies of fresh produce are available throughout Xmas & the New Year.” Image
A UK government spokesperson: “We are expecting significant disruption in Kent... We are urging everybody - including all hauliers - to avoid travelling to Kent ports until further notice”

HMG is telling hauliers to 1. avoid *all* RoRo routes to France 2. delay/reroute shipments
Clearly the bar has been raised somewhat this year but a UK government telling people to not cross the English Channel is an absolutely extraordinary statement
The @LogisticsUKNews statement says it is “very concerned” about driver welfare. HGV drivers in the UK who planned to return to Europe are stranded - where will they spend the next few nights? Empty hotels? And what about the traffic tomorrow AM? Ashford’s lorry park isn’t ready.
Polls this summer showed support for extending transition to focus on Covid. I bet it’s significantly higher now. The legal deadline for it is long gone but a standstill of some sort is possible with political will. Doubt many Brits will tonight be fretting over election slogans.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells #r4today that the government expects the freight ban to affect around 6,000 lorries today, around 20% of total expected crossings

He says that whether there are shortages as a result "depends on how long things go on"
The clear message from business to the public this morning is don't panic buy

"Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Xmas which should prevent immediate problems," says the British Retail Consortium's Andrew Opie

The situation could change if the ban well exceeds 48 hrs
Stena Line is adding an extra ship to its Ireland to France route from tomorrow to respond to exploding demand from exporters trying to reach the EU, says spokesperson Simon Palmer

HMG last night told hauliers to avoid Kent ports and reroute shipments…
Lorry drivers stuck in the UK as a result of the freight ban have received "welfare provision" including toilet facilities and food & drink, Boris Johnson's spokesperson says
The Road Haulage Association's Richard Burnett urges Brits not to panic buy, warning that it'll create "unnecessary shortages in Jan when some goods could already be harder to come by"

He says retailers built up more stock than usual to prepare for Brexit and can use it for Xmas

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More from @adampayne26

22 Dec
The @Foodanddrinkfed's Ian Wright gives government both barrels

He says much of the chaos "should've been avoided" as HMG was "well aware of the power" of its Covid announcement

He says HMG should compensate affected traders "who have lost out from that failure of authority"
Stark from the @RHANews' Duncan Buchanan, who says port chaos is of "a different order of magnitude, and in the context of Brexit and what is coming from January 1, this is the start of a very, very serious supply chain disruption of the like that probably have never experienced"
The RHA's Buchanan says the government's reported plan to test drivers is "a waste of time" and "knee-jerk" policy

He says it is "counterproductive" as it'll just lead to drivers mixing in a field in Kent

The treatment of drivers is "pathetic," he adds

Damning evidence so far
Read 7 tweets
23 Sep
Michael Gove reveals some pretty alarming statistics to the the House of Commons

Just 24% of businesses believe they're fully ready for the end of the Brexit transition period

Nearly double — 43% — think the transition period will be extended
Gove reveals the government's worst-case scenario estimates:

- 50% of big businesses and just 20% of SMEs will have the correct paperwork to export to the EU from January

- As few as 30% of HGVs will arrive at border with correct paperwork, while the rest face being sent back
Here are the sections of Michael Gove's House of Commons statement containing those eyebrow-raising statistics

Less than 4 months to go...
Read 6 tweets
23 Sep
New: @LogisticsUKNews tells Michael Gove that hauliers are still waiting for the government to provide details on how borders and new systems will work

They say they have "long warned government" about potential chaos at the borders and it is "incumbent" on HMG to give answers
There's anger among hauliers after a few days of the government appearing to shift blame for potential chaos in January

- Gove's letter warned of 7k lorries queuing on the motorway if UK traders aren't ready for changes
- Eustice yday day suggested disruption would be EU's fault
HMG is "making villains" of hauliers, @BIFA said

"Don't start pointing the finger of blame in our direction when you have still to provide all of the tools to do the job," it told @Joe_Mayes

"Give our members all they information they need, and systems that actually work..."
Read 4 tweets
16 Sep
Brandon Lewis says he gave the correct answer when he said last week that HMG's plan for Northern Ireland would break international law

This is after Lord Keen said yday that Lewis answered the wrong question and Priti Patel said it wouldn't break international law

All clear?
Simon Hoare puts to Brandon Lewis the not unreasonable point that given the "magnitude and sensitivity of the issues," shouldn't the government have put in the Internal Market Bill a commitment to exhausting joint committee talks and arbitration before breaking international law
Hoare tells Lewis that the "heat, steam, anxiety, fear" created by the plan to break int law was totally unnecessary

He says HMG should have made clear that this would be the last resort following JC talks and arbitration

It was "rather clumsy," he says

Many Tory MPs agree
Read 7 tweets
8 Sep
Labour’s @LouHaigh grills Brandon Lewis on HMG’s contentious plans for the protocol:

She says Jones’ exit shows concern “runs to the very top”

Johnson negotiated the WA and campaigned on it, she points out

She says the PM looks like he’s using NI as “a political football”
Ouch! Former PM Theresa May asks Brandon Lewis how the UK government “can reassure future international partners” that it’ll respect agreements it enters into

She says the UK government is “now changing” how the NI protocol operates after singing up to it with the EU
May’s question to Lewis: "How can the government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations of the agreements it signs?"
Read 7 tweets
3 Sep
New: Labelling has emerged as another big headache for the UK ahead of the end of Brexit transition

Business groups say the deadline for producing packaging needed to legally export food has already passed

They're still waiting for government guidance…
Whitehall sources & biz figures say labelling is one of the most complex elements of Brexit preparation

GB food exporters still don't know what packaging they'll use from January — both for the EU and Northern Ireland

Gov says it'll publish guidance ASAP…
What could in mean in practice?

On January 1 GB businesses don't have the right labels to legally move food to into the EU and to Northern Ireland

Border disruption, businesses lose lots of £££

There's real concern about potential food shortages in NI…
Read 5 tweets

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