A technological solution to smooth post-Brexit friction at UK borders

© Gary Perkins

Source-sealed freight linked to a Trade Single Window (STW) tracking platform offers UK customs authorities “a clear opportunity” to reduce post-Brexit border friction.

Fujitsu’s head of international trade and customs, Frank Dunsmuir, said – in his role as a partner at Digital Trader Services (DTS) – that he would recommend piloting Fujitsu’s Atamai Freight platform which secures and tracks vehicles to minimize reliance on port controls.

It also backs the government’s ambitions for a “one-stop shop for trade” to guide traders through “exactly what they need to do” when transporting goods, Mr Dunsmuir said. The Loadstar.

“That’s what the technology is good for, because customs procedures are very rules-based and when they receive the essential information, such as the product and its origin, STW can guide the trader through the process. .

“We’re not there yet, but we will be with the trade one-stop shop.”

From a security perspective, Mr Dunsmuir said, the system that Fujitsu was “already trialling” in Northern Ireland would help improve trade flows using a “smart lock” system. . Shipment information – driver, route, cargo details, commercial invoices, documentation and vehicle – is captured and assigned to the vehicle’s “smart lock”.

The vehicle is then “locked” to the point of origin, with GPS tracking transmitting real-time visibility of each trip and its shipment information to customers and port authorities.

“With a system like this, you ask yourself ‘why is there a need for physical checks at the port if someone in authority has sealed it at the point of departure in the EU?'” said Mr. Dunsmuir.

“This will be a huge benefit to logistics and open the door to more businesses as the costs and delays associated with doing business will be significantly reduced as this system maintains security and compliance while expediting rather than slowing the flow.”

Mr Dunsmuir also said The Loadstar he rejected the idea that the British government had trivialized Brexit and was not taking the changes seriously.

“Government needs to educate an entire industry on new processes and ways of doing business that they have never experienced,” he said. “There’s a huge amount to communicate, and it’s all quite complex, especially for UK road freight operators, many of whom are European with English as a second language.”

He pointed to seminars, roundtables and summaries organized by a host of departments, including Defra and HMRC, as indicative of dedication.

However, several sources have also indicated The Loadstar they condemned the government’s approach to Brexit, pointing to the increasingly complex and apparently worsening situations at the border.

Mr Dunsmuir acknowledged it may “seem to be getting stickier”, but noted it could be down to the way the government has sought to bring about change. He said phasing in the requirements, rather than introducing them all at once, was seen as a way to avoid a major financial shock to the country, while allowing traders to acclimate to the changes ahead. , with new checks due in July, September. , and November.

“What they have attempted is to maintain compliance but with the lightest touches of intervention,” he added.

“No doubt companies will be caught out in July, but the real way forward is to stick with this approach without introducing legislation or anything that causes blockages, because Brexit was supposed to be about strengthening the economy.”