In less than two months, the UK will leave the EU after 40 years. However, it seems like the UK is still working on its IT systems so it will match the new requirements.
Indeed, according to a report from the Institute for Government, the IT systems need to be upgraded and new ones need to be built in order to be prepared for the change, yet some of them are still being tested.
For instance, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), one of the IT systems essential for cross-border commerce, is not ready yet. GVMS still requires further full-scale end-to-end testing. As for now, it does not produce a single barcode that can be easily and quickly scanned, which should facilitate the movement of goods through ports. It is stated that GVMS won’t be ready before December 4, less than a month before businesses are expected to start using it, thus reducing their time to learn how to use it.
Besides, there are other upgrade programs that have found themselves under pressure because of Brexit. Indeed, the Customs Declarations Service (CDS) was expected to replace the main system for customs declarations from January 2019, but it kept on being delayed. After implementing the new systems, there will be a need to train the businesses as well as to adapt their internal IT systems, something that could take time especially if the systems are delayed even more.
Furthermore, Smart Freight, a system that will help HGV drivers to understand if they are ready to cross the border into the EU, is still in beta, and thus, is unlikely to be operational soon.
The government set aside £115m for new IT systems to help with the management of customs arrangements since July. However, it is hard to believe that the government’s IT systems are ready to make the change for Brexit, considering the lack of information to help IT distributors and resellers prepare for it.