At the stroke of midnight, the UK will become another country to its EU neighbours. Rotterdam will have to run checks on 10,500 newly “foreign” boats. Officials expect a 30% increase in import inspections and a 100% increase in export inspections. Ferry operators warn of form-filling and delays. While a transition period could delay those changes until 2021, nothing is being taken for granted.
Companies are “spoiled” by the ease of trading within the EU’s internal market, van ’t Veld says. Take a Dutch company that makes ready meals for British consumers. Today it needs only a contract with a shop. In future, companies on both sides of the North Sea would need production location registration, an export declaration, exit and entry declarations and more.
“Instead of two pieces of documentation you would need nine additional documents,” says van ’t Veld, based on his reading of the UK customs bill. “In 200 days’ time, you cannot just send a ship, and if you don’t anticipate those changes, ships will not get through the gates.” (Since he spoke this month, more days have slipped by.)