Posted By Colin Black : Colin Black lives in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. On 2021-03-19 17:41:06

At last, we’re finally out. The UK has left the European Union, it only took our Trump look-alike Prime Minister Boris Johnston four years, but we’ve cut all ties with the EU. Well, maybe not all ties, but a lot, it’s all plain sailing from here on in.

No, really, I’m sure we’ll all be heaps better off just as soon as all the snags are ironed out. Little things like the fact nobody seems to know what to do about custom clearing trucks that want to take our exports to the continent. Or bring imports in from the continent. I hope they get it sorted out before the transport companies who depend on the export of fish and other seafood go to the wall.

A trucker on TV told the interviewer he’d been waiting to get on a ferry at Dover for forty hours! That’s a week of five regular eight-hour shifts for most people, but the difference is, they get to go home in between shifts. He’d submitted his documents several times, only to have them refused, no explanations. It’s lucky they kept that airfield free where they stored all those trucks waiting to cross the channel when the French closed their border. It’s coming in handy again for drivers like him, and of course, it stops them clogging the ferry port up as they wait to see if their paperwork has cleared customs.

I think the problem is that the transport industry and everybody else only got about a week to get ready. After four years, Boris said, right that’s it, I’ve got an agreement, from January 1st, it will all change. The TV was full of adverts, bakers writing the date in flour, garages servicing cars, and of course, trucks getting loaded, all telling people to be ready for the change on January 1st, 2021.

But people weren’t ready, and what’s more, customs weren’t prepared. The reason being nobody knew what the agreement was going to be until the week before the change. My eldest son, another Colin, works for a company that custom clears shipments for firms who don’t want to employ their own clearance clerks. Import/Export, air freight, road freight, and containers, or sea cans as you guys call them, my son and his colleagues know the rules inside out, or at least they used to.

But not to worry, Boris and his merry men have set up helplines. Have you got a query about the new rules? Just phone this number. But when they did, they were put on hold and then told they were going through to the wrong department and told to call this other department. This went on and on, getting bounced from pillar to post. Until one day, my son finally spoke to somebody who knew what he was talking about. I’ll bet his phone line will be busy when word gets around.

My boy reckons it could be a smuggler’s paradise. Shipments that used to be guaranteed to get a thorough search by customs are just getting rubber-stamped and sent on their way simply because they are too busy.

To ease the financial burden on some importer/ exporter firms, the government put a hold on VAT, valueadded tax, for six months. But some clearance houses are not asking their customers if they want to defer paying the tax and are automatically deferring it. So, there could be a surprise for these customers in six months when they get hit with a big bill.

I wonder if people would’ve voted to leave the E U if they’d had a look into the future and saw the mess our politicians would make of it.