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UK forwarders and shippers readying their businesses for Brexit were dealt another blow yesterday when freight association Logistics UK revealed it had learned that the SMART Freight system won’t be ready for the deadline of 1 January.
“News that the government’s much anticipated SMART Freight system is unlikely to be ready by the end of the year, with the beta version only anticipated for launch in mid-December, is a crushing disappointment for the logistics sector,” said Elizabeth de Jong, director of policy at Logistics UK.
“Logistics UK, which has offered maximum support for the government during its development and testing of a system which will be vital to the continued movement of trade to and from the EU, expressed dismay at today’s revelation that the system will not be fully tested and stable until April 2021,” she added.
The revelation follows yesterday’s news that, even if the SMART system was ready by 1 January, less than one-third of forwarders have any familiarity with it, according to a British International Freight Association survey published yesterday.
“Businesses which will depend on the system to ensure the continued flow of goods and services to the EU were already working to very short deadlines if the Smart Freight system was to be tested and operational by the end of the year,” Ms de Jong continued.
“To find out, with only 14 weeks to go, that there will not be a ready, workable solution for those moving goods to the EU is a massive blow to UK businesses and the economy.
“The government needs to understand the complexity of the UK’s highly interconnected logistics industry and the amount of co-ordination required in order to use SMART Freight, and prioritise the allocation of more resource to deliver the system on time, to protect the UK’s supply chain,” she added.