The UK government is preparing to reactivate its "Operation Brock" contingency plan, the traffic management system planned in Kent to be used in the event of a no deal Brexit. According to the authoritative Financial Times this replaces the previous plan used in the past for temporary traffic problems between channels. The system will allow 2,000 trucks to be backed up to the M20 outside the ports of Dover and Folkestone, with space for another 2,000 in a truck park area in Ashford, Kent, to be used in case of problems caused by the new regime.
The Department of Transport said the chain reaction of further customs controls on the French side of the Calais border, combined with the low levels of availability of traders and transporters, required the plans to be relaunched. Financial Times also said that the ministers made it clear that companies will have to adapt to significant new border controls, regardless of whether the negotiators reach an agreement in the current trade negotiations. Under the plan truckers approaching the border without proper documentation or trying to evade queues will face on-site fines of £ 300, with the potential for "multiple fines" if they break more than one rule.
The 2021 version of "Operation Brock" will come with some refinements, including a specialized "zipper" machine that will accelerate the deployment of mobile concrete barriers used to mark the lanes. Last month the government released details of its border operating model, which sets out the full range of controls that importers, exporters and road hauliers will have to carry out in order to trade with the EU. Much of the traffic will flow through the short strait between Dover or Folkestone and Calais or Dunkirk, creating a point of contact for roll-on, roll-off traffic traveling by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel. From January 1, drivers will need customs documents for imported or exported goods, temporary admission carnets for goods temporarily traveling abroad, as well as export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates for animal products and plant.
While the French government has already designed, built and tested its customs system, UK customs, transport and logistics industry has repeatedly raised concerns about the lack of information from the government. The industry has warned that a shortage of customs intermediaries remains the main constraint in making sure paperwork is correct.