Cabinet minister Michael Gove expects delays at the border between the UK and the European Union “to get worse before they get better”.
A high number of vehicles travelling from the UK to France have been refused entry or delayed due to paperwork issues after Brexit, logistics group DFDS said earier today.
There have also been issues at the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Gove said the government was working to resolve the issue.
“That work is ongoing, it is all part of the process of leaving the European Union, we said that there would be some initial disruption, we’re ironing it out but the situation will get worse before it gets better,” Gove said.
In a tweet DFDS said: “We are experiencing a high volume of vehicles being refused and delayed at the Ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Dover, due to incorrect paperwork being presented at check-in.”
The post-Brexit trade agreement signed last month means there are no tariffs on goods sent across the Channel to France, but new regulatory and customs checks do apply.
Since 1 January, when the UK began its life outside the EU, there have so far been very few problems reported at ports like Dover, with a minimum of drivers turned around for having the wrong paperwork.
However, the burden of extra paperwork and new border rules for British businesses became clear today after The Times reported the courier DPD halted deliveries to the Continent.
Marks & Spencers also warned that its supply of Percy Pigs to Ireland was at risk.
DPD said that it was temporarily suspending its deliveries to Europe and the Republic of Ireland because of requirements for extra customs data.
Additionally, trade between the UK and the EU has remained low throughout the first week of January.
Commercial traffic across the Channel was less than 20 per cent of normal levels last Monday.
Many companies stockpiled goods in the last weeks of 2020 to avoid crossing the new customs border in the first week after Brexit.
This news comes after French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday evening that France’s border with the UK would remain shut “until further notice” as worries grow over the spread of the new UK variant of Covid-19.
Only certain categories of people are allowed through the border, including French citizens and truck drivers, provided they have a negative PCR Covid-19 test from the last 72 hours.