Brexit Impact on UK Ports Muted Compared to Covid-19 | Financial Times

As reported in today’s Financial Times, traffic through UK ports remains a quarter down on the levels seen pre-Brexit with delays up nearly a fifth. But levels associated with Brexit are muted in comparison to those seen during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Financial Times Uses Huq Industries Data to Monitor Brexit Delays
© Financial Times & Huq Industries 2021

As we approach the first full month since a trade deal was signed between the EU and the UK, transit between the two has stagnated at 75 per cent of average levels seen last year, according to high frequency data from Huq Industries.

At the same time, delays have slightly increased to 16 per cent of the levels seen during the transition period up from 10 per cent at the beginning of the year. The stagnation has remained at the same levels for almost a month, suggesting that some of the so-called teething problems may be here to stay.

The figures continue to reflect anecdotal reports from the hauliers that they are struggling with red tape and Covid testing rules. They also follow reports that up to 20 per cent of small to medium size businesses are delaying exports from the UK because of fears of being held up by new customs rules.

This has a knock on effect to hauliers, who rely on bringing goods too – and from – the UK to make transit economically viable. But if these levels are indicative of the worst of the anticipated disruption, the impact of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to have been more significant for UK ports.