Lorry drivers facing four day wait at Calais as ‘terrible’ Brexit red tape causes chaos

The HMRC say they are ‘too busy’ to deal with the customs problems.

A number of lorries of bringing goods from Europe have been stuck at the border for four days, according to reports, with logistic bosses blaming “terrible” new Brexit red tape.

Some truck drivers are said to have faced queues of up to eight hours as they struggle to get through customs controls at Calais, which has had a knock on effect on deliveries, as new rules came into force at the start of January.

Experts have pointed problems down to the government’s new systems. All EU imports must be processed by HMRC, and many drivers have been unable to get reference codes accepted.

Speaking to The Independent, Jon Swallow from logistics company Jordan Freight said: “We’ve been told by HMRC that they are just too busy to deal with it. These delays are very frustrating and costly for companies.”

Firms are also finding new customs declarations forms a challenge.

They are required to complete rules-of-origin documents on goods important from the EU since January 1 2022.

One customs consultancy firm director said one of his clients had 20 lorries with food products coming to the UK stuck for almost two days at the end of last week because of the new rules.

One angry British driver tweeted he had to wait for over eight hours “for a f****** bar code”, adding that the scenes at the port have been “mental”.

An unnamed haulage driver told The Independent he believes 20-to-25 per cent of trucks stuck in Calais are the result of incorrect paperwork.

“This is a quiet period, and the queues are massive. I’m expecting a lot of delays when things busier in February.”

A number of companies have been hit by delays, including car manufacturer Honda. A spokesperson said: “Some teething problems are not unexpected as the UK’s new customs systems come online”.

One expert described the delays as “teething problems” that could soon be resolved as firms start to understand what is required.

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association said: “If there are trucks held up because they don’t have the right codes it creates a backlog, which is frustrating.

“Whenever there is a new system, we see people struggle with it at first.

There’s friction, but then they adjust.”