The UK Chamber of Shipping predicts that the introduction of physical customs checks following Brexit would be a catastrophe for British ports and shipping and would likely reduce the volume of trade.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May stated she would advocate for a customs arrangement with the European Union which allows trade to be "as frictionless as possible". However, it is expected that goods will not move as seamlessly as they do within the EU.
"The nightmare scenario is actually having physical customs borders ... it would be absolutely a catastrophe for the ports and for our sector," stated Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping. He added that the government needs to reach an early agreement on customs, or ensure a transition period, as checks will require new infrastructure that will take time to put in place and which British ports will struggle to physically accommodate.
For example Dover, the busiest truck port in the UK, currently handles around 8000 trucks per day from the EU, it could face congestions of up to 30 miles if customs checks were introduced after the UK left the European Union.