- There is disruption at UK ports as Britain prepares to leave EU trading rules in just two weeks' time.
- Footage obtained by Business Insider showed queues of HGVs waiting to reach Holyhead port in Wales.
- Another video showed similar scenes in Kent where lorries were trying to reach the Eurotunnel.
- The congestion is partly due to companies making late efforts to stockpile goods ahead of January 1.
- The Labour Party accused Boris Johnson's government of failing to support British ports.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Footage captured in the last 24 hours shows long queues of HGVs heading to British ports as companies rush to stockpile goods before the United Kingdom leaves the Brexit transition period in just two weeks' time.
The UK will break away from the European Union's trading rules on New Year's Eve and there is set to be disruption at Britain's borders regardless of whether Boris Johnson's UK government and EU leaders manage strike a new free trade deal in time.
With new checks and controls on cross-border trade on the horizon, there has been a sharp increase in freight movements across Britain's borders as companies try to build supplies of goods and avoid potential shortages of everyday items like food and drink next month.
This is taking place at the UK's border with the EU across the English Channel and between Great Britain and Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea. The latter is because Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules from next year in order to avoid a contentious hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
A spokesperson for Stena Line Ports which operates Holyhead, Wales biggest port and UK's second-largest, roll on-roll off port, told the Irish Times that record-breaking levels of freight movements to Northern Ireland had taken place over the last three weeks due to an "absolutely massive" twenty per cent increase in volumes compared to last year.
Footage obtained by Business Insider showed queues of lorries of up to seven kilometres heading for Holyhead on Thursday.
The Stela Line Ports spokesperson told the Irish Times that the congestion was the result of a triple whammy: Brexit stockpiling, adverse weather, and the loss of another ferry service from Merseyside to Northern Ireland due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Seamus Leheny, Logistics UK's policy director in Northern Ireland, said that "the tailbacks and congestion at Holyhead are worrying for Irish supply chains both North and South as it's the primary route for 'Just in Time' consumer goods, so any delays will affect retail and manufacturing."
He said: "We have many members raising concerns about this which is being fuelled by stockpiling in preparation for the end of the Brexit transition period. The government need to listen to the concerns of UK ports like Holyhead and assist where they can to avoid more disruption in the weeks and months ahead."
Stephen Crabb, Conservative Member of Parliament and chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, on Thursday warned that Welsh ports faced losing business to other ferry services next year due to disruption brought about Brexit.
In an article for Business Insider, he said that there were still big, unanswered questions about how new checks at Holyhead, Fishguard, and Pembroke Dock ports in Wales would work — including where new infrastructure would be built.
Separate footage published by Sky News on Friday morning showed similar scenes in Folkestone, Kent where trucks were queueing on the M20 motorway to reach the Eurotunnel.
Rachel Reeves, the opposition Labour Party's Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, accused Johnson's government of failing to provide ports like Holyhead with the support they need to prepare for leaving the transition period.
"With Ministers wasting millions on crony contracts, but Holyhead being awarded just £253,061 in the Port Infrastructure Fund, many will wonder what this government's priorities are," she told Business Insider.
"The response to legitimate questions about transparency on how our ports are being supported has been shocking. Ministers must urgently explain what is happening and ensure businesses don't pay the price for this incompetence."
Business Insider has asked the government for comment.
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