Blog: Border Controls Snarl Trucks and U.K. Imports: Beyond Brexit – Bloomberg

What’s happening? Brexit border controls are weighing on U.K. imports and adding a headwind to the economic recovery.

Trucking companies are falling foul of new IT systems policing goods crossing the English Channel. Goods moving into the U.K. since the start of the year must use the Goods Vehicle Movement System, but many hauliers report setbacks including reference codes not being accepted, writes Joe Mayes. Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co. is among companies that have been hit so far.

U.K. manufacturers report that the trend toward exports remained negative last month, a survey by IHS Markit showed. Consumer goods were hit hardest, reflecting Brexit difficulties and the prospect of further Covid restrictions.

The British International Freight Association is calling on the U.K. government to investigate the state of competition in the global container-shipping market. Charlotte Ryan writes that the group is concerned that commercial power has becoming increasingly concentrated under European Union oversight that allows the companies to operate in alliances without violating antitrust rules.

British civil servants have been told to avoid the word Brexit, Flavia Krause-Jackson writes in an assessment of the political landscape a year after the U.K. opted to go it alone. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson maintains the nation is on the cusp of a return to greatness after leaving the EU, Brexit and the pandemic are morphing into a political demon that now risks slipping out of his control. A shortage of critical workers, supply chain disruption and a rollercoaster resurgence of virus infections were bumps in the road on the journey to his much-vaunted “Global Britain.”

The French government softened its Covid border restrictions to allow British citizens who live in the EU transit through France in order to return to their residence, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle said on its Twitter account. Travel rules from mid-December had barred all non-EU citizens from transiting France except via airports. The new stance is for “tolerance,” the Ministry of Interior said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Reed Landberg

We aim to keep you up to date on how the U.K. navigates the world after Brexit. Got tips or feedback? Email us at

Chart of the Week

The U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index had itx best year since the Brexit vote of 2016, but it’s still falling well short of most European peers. The measure climbed 14% in 2021, about half the gains of its French, Swedish and Dutch counterparts. Only Spain has fared worse among major European markets. 

Read More: U.K. Stocks Lag Even After Best Year Since Brexit Vote

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