Brexit border chaos costing Whites Transport Services haulage firm 'an absolute fortune on daily basis'

The boss of a haulage firm has revealed he fears a mass exodus of lorry drivers due to massive delays when they enter France. Pete White, transport manager of the Hungerford -based haulage firm Whites Transport Services , says the company is "losing an absolute fortune" on a daily basis because of the chaos. The firm delivers fresh meat carcasses to continental Europe via Dover and Folkestone.

He said journeys that normally take two days are now taking five. Thousands of lorry drivers have been fined since the start of the year because of the changes, with some even spending Christmas Day stuck on the border. He said: "Our problems start when we arrive in France.

"We have to wait for the French authorities to give the green light for us to continue our journey. Two trucks on Saturday spent 16 hours waiting for that to happen. "We just don't have time for these delays.

Fresh meat carcasses devalue by the hour. "I've been doing this for 20 years and last week was the worst week I've ever had doing this job." He said the company is "losing an absolute fortune on a daily basis".

He went on: "France is not going to do the UK any favours. I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. "It's going to get much worse before it gets better.

What I'm hoping for is the supermarkets to run out of food, because when the supermarkets run out of food that is when the general public know about what's going on." His comments come after thousands of lorries were backed up in Kent in the lead up to Christmas after France blocked trade due to the discovery of a mutant variant of coronavirus spreading through the UK. Wokingham MP John Redwood also came forward during the chaos, saying the UK "relies too much" on imports.

Rod McKenzie, who is director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), told the PA news agency he is "very worried" about the impact of post- Brexit customs checks when cross-Channel trips reach normal levels by Wednesday, January 13. He told the PA news agency: "It's got to happen. "Traders have been holding off sending lorries into harm's way, because they wanted to see what other people's problems were so they could learn from them.

"But you can't keep doing that forever, you've got to trade. There will come a nail-biting moment when people bite the bullet and send the truck." He added most delays suffered by hauliers since the end of the Brexit transition period have been due to drivers not having a coronavirus test needed to enter France, or issues with customs paperwork.

He said: "We're already seeing substantial problems on the Irish crossing, and as volumes build on the short straits this week, then we'll really see a test of everything." Mr McKenzie added that Government IT systems are "under strain" and "not working as well as they should". Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove thanked hauliers, traders and industry partners for their efforts to comply with new rules and said their preparations had "paid dividends" with "minimal" disruption so far.

Mr Gove said there was the "potential for significant disruption" as the number of lorries heading to the border returned to normal levels as expected this week, adding: "We have always been clear there would be changes now that we are out of the customs union and single market, so full compliance with the new rules is vital to avoid disruption, and the best way to ensure readiness is to follow the guidance on gov.uk and use the 'Check an HGV' service."

"We stand ready to help keep goods flowing smoothly as we adjust to our new relationship with the EU and ensure we take advantage of the opportunities it brings."

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