Date: 11.11.2020

Experts ‘fear’ for critical Brexit systems

While government minister Michael Gove fielded questions on Brexit IT system release dates from a parliamentary committee, name changes and uncertainty about systems preparedness is making the logistics industry nervous.

Mr Gove told the Future Relationship with the EU parliamentary select committee he “hoped” the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) will be ready by the 4th December and the smart freight system “December 2020”, noting that both systems were being “refined”.

When asked how this differed from being tested, he simply stated that refinement and testing were “part of the same process”.

Further adding to the confusion surrounding post-Brexit customs preparations, the government last week announced a name change to its export ‘smart freight’ system, which is now called the “Check a Heavy Goods Vehicle is Ready to Cross the Border service”.

Clarifying Mr Gove’s position a government spokesperson told The Loadstar: “We are already testing the ‘Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border’ and GVMS services with industry. Both systems will go live in December.”

One source told The Loadstar the new dates conflicted with industry understanding that the systems would not be ready until next year, while another said that though he expected systems to be released in December, he questioned whether there was sufficient training time.

An invitation via BIFA to participate in private beta testing prompted would be participants to assume that development work on “Check an HGV is ready to cross the border” was still at an early stage. In fact a working demo is live and available for testing by hauliers and forwarders. 

It’s quick and simple to get your ‘Kent Access permit’ (KAP), taking us just over a minute, to complete the process. Although, compiling the nine sets of highlighted documents, that might accompany the driver, would take a lot longer to complete.

GVMS will be used for goods coming into the UK and many believe that more government effort would be required to inform foreign operators of how it works.

While HMRC is doing “some” GVMS roadshows, it is critical that the system’s operation and purpose is clearly communicated, as an error in the start of a shipment’s journey, like incorrect vehicle registration, could see it stranded on the other side of the Channel.

The British International Freight Association added to the clamour of calls for the government to step up its pre-Brexit preparations, saying: “BIFA members are looking for assurance from government that the new IT and other systems being introduced will actually work.”

Metro work closely with HMRC, BIFA and The Association of Freight Software Suppliers (AFSS) to follow the status and influence the development of GVMS and other HMRC systems. 

We have developed a suite of bespoke, generic and automated solutions to protect your EU trade from the 1st January 2021. This includes our CuDoS (Customs Documentation Services) platform automating and digitalising customs submissions in the new European environment. 

For further information contact our post-Brexit Task Team and speak with Andrew White or Jade Barrow.