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Impacts of Brexit so far: more paperwork, longer processes, and higher prices

Britain's departure from the European Union has arguably marked the biggest change of the country since it joined the bloc 48 years ago, with UK companies currently struggling with export documents, longer delivery times, and the need to overhaul supply chains.

Fishermen were the first victims in January as the newly-introduced health checks, certificates and customs declarations delayed the movement of goods to an extent that they are no longer fresh, and therefore, rejected by many European buyers. Since then the majority of food producers in Britain have stopped exporting to Europe for now, mostly due to the expensive health certificates and overwhelming paperwork.

Apart from the cumbersome paperwork, Brexit also resulted in custom fees, VAT, and higher logistical costs. Logistics groups said the cost of hiring European drivers to bring goods into Britain had surged. On top of that, the COVID situation and the new strain originating from the UK itself doesn’t help. Drivers need a negative COVID test to leave which means the island nation is a much less attractive destination for many EU companies.

However, the most obvious sign of the Brexit impact can be seen in Irish ports where large ferries now ship goods directly between Ireland and the EU instead of having to pass through Britain, which used to be the speedier route. Some gaps have appeared on supermarket shelves in Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, as retailers struggle to cope with the customs paperwork.

E-commerce has also been badly hit due to the numbers of Irish customers who shop online from UK stores. Some British suppliers have stopped trade while Northern Irish logistics groups have warned that prices are rising as trailers return from Britain empty, without a return load to cover the cost.

Key words







Key questions

  1. Do you think the situation is going to get better? Or worse? Why?

  2. How do you think food shortages will impact society?

  3. What other ways is Brexit impacting people? For example, students who wish to study in Europe? European nationals who wish to live in the UK?

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