More than half (58%) of UK firms say border delays as a result of Brexit are longer now than at the beginning of January, a survey has found.
The research, conducted by CIPS, found almost two-thirds of companies (63%) experienced delays of at least 2-3 days getting goods into the UK, up from 38% in January.
The situation was only slightly better for exports, with 44% experiencing delays of at least 2-3 days getting goods into the EU.
Almost half (47%) of the 350 UK supply chain managers surveyed cited an increase in customs paperwork as the main reason behind the delays.
Covid-19 protocols, a lack of capacity among customs staff, and drivers being turned away for having the wrong paperwork also caused delays.
However, current delays are set to be exacerbated when new import certifications are phased in from April. Extra checks will impact a wide range of goods from sausages to live mussels.
Earlier this month, experts warned delays at the border were “likely to get worse before they get better” as firms get to grips with what the Brexit deal means for them.
John Glen, CIPS economist, said: “We are well into the second month of the new arrangements and the hope that delays at the border would reduce as freight volumes returned to normal and customs systems became used to the new processes has not come to pass.
“What is even more concerning is that the delays are continuing to get longer, putting more and more pressure on the UK’s supply chains and affecting the timely delivery of much-needed goods.
“The paperwork required at the border is not going to change anytime soon, so we should brace ourselves for these delays to continue for at least the next few months. New requirements for import certifications are also rapidly approaching and these will only add to the paperwork required, causing further delays for businesses.
“The knock-on impact of these delays will trickle far down the supply chain and ultimately result in stock shortages and inflated prices for consumers.”