Full import controls for goods entering the UK from EU will apply from January 1, 2022. Research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found a significant majority of small importers that will be impacted by the new rules and checks are not yet prepared for their introduction in less than one month’s time.

In response, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said there is no better time to use the services of a freight forwarder that specialises in import and export Customs declarations. The association’s director general, Robert Keen, said: “The news followed yet another reminder from HMRC last week that traders need to prepare for Customs changes that come into effect at the beginning of the new year.

“Given the amount of information that has been issued by the government over the past 12 months, and the amount of information that is available on the websites of various government departments, as well as trade associations, it is alarming that so many respondents said that they were unable to prepare for the introduction of the new rules, or were not aware of them.

“Along with the government, BIFA has made it clear that businesses should appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations, regardless of the amount or value of trade that the business does with Europe.

“That’s one of the many services that freight forwarding companies offer, so I would urge any business that is not fully prepared for the introduction of import controls from January 2022, to visit BIFA’s website to find the details of one of our members that can help them.

“Many of those members have made significant investments to be able to handle the major upsurge in activities in regards to Customs processing both before and since the UK left the EU.”