Freight forwarders are hoping that the introduction of a ‘bespoke Covid testing regime’ for hauliers arriving in England from outside the UK from April 6th, doesn’t throw another spoke into the wheels of cross channel trade, says Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA).
“Our members, which manage a significant proportion of the visible trade between the UK and the EU, have seen major disruptions to their operations for many months as a result of Covid; the changes to how import and export trade is conducted following the UK’s departure from the EU; as well macroeconomic issues affecting all modes of international freight transport.”
Earlier in March, when the UK government extended the deadlines of the Border Operating Model, BIFA said it was not surprised and welcomed the news that government will engage extensively with businesses.
Keen adds: “Controlling the spread of new Covid variants is critical and we want the new bespoke Covid testing regime for hauliers to work, but not impede trade flows. We invite government and its relevant agencies to work closely with us and our members and learn from the mistakes of the past when some political decisions were made that appeared to pay little regard to how visible international trade and the frontier actually works in practice.
“BIFA members are pinning their hopes that the bespoke Covid testing regime lives up to its billing and is made-to-measure, not off-the-peg. Creating more uncertainty will be of no use to anyone involved in managing the UK’s visible international trade.”