Video report by Greg Hoare
Haulage companies have warned there is "no chance" ports like Cairnryan, in the south west of Scotland, will be ready for the end of the Brexit transition period.This afternoon the UK and EU came to an agreement on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but the details won't be released until tomorrow (9 December).Martin Reid, the Road Haulage Association's Director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, told Representing Border the industry group has been pressing the UK Government for information for the last four years.He said it was "ludicrous" that, with a matter of days remaining, there was still no certainty.
Even if there is a Brexit trade deal, more paperwork and border checks will be necessary for companies exporting goods, because the UK will no longer be in the single market and customs union. The nature of these checks is what haulage companies, and many other businesses that export goods, want clarity over.On 2 December, the Scottish Government's Rural Economy Secretary said it was their view that a border control post should be built at Cairnryan.Fergus Ewing MSP said the UK Government should pay for it, because Brexit is "their doing".The UK Government has repeatedly said any checks that are necessary should take place in Northern Ireland, rather than Scotland.
Whether or not a border control post is built is not up to Dumfries and Galloway Council, but the local authority told us it is one of a number of possible outcomes it is planning for.The prospect of using the old disused pier in Stranraer as an overflow lorry park, is another.Ros Surtees, an SNP councillor for Stranraer and the Rhins, said the local authority is expecting disruption at Cairnryan, a rural location with limited infrastructure.
The EU exit has been an absolute shambles from the Westminster government, and I think it's frustrating and frightening for people who don't have the answers. They don't have answers because we don't have answers. We're working hard to make sure the infrastructure of Stranraer can cope with a build up of lorries while they wait for their paperwork to be processed, which is what we're expecting.
Annan-based farmer and haulier Andrew Ewing thinks the idea of a border control post at Cairnryan is "completely unworkable".He says he's usually able to board a ferry at Cairnryan within half an hour, and as he exports livestock, longer delays would simply not work.
Mr Ewing's company has just bought cattle from Carlisle.It's a unique delivery, because once the usual 30-day stopover for export tests at Dumbretton Farm comes to an end, it will be January.With the Brexit transition period over, he still has no idea what the export regulations to send the cattle to Northern Ireland will be.