Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has demanded assurances from the government that Brexit will not result in customs barriers at Teesport which would see lorries queuing down the A66.

Representatives of UK shipping have warned that physical customs checks following Brexit would be a catastrophe for British ports, slowing down the movement of cargo and disrupting business supply chains.1 

In Transport Questions in the House of Commons this morning, Anna asked the Secretary of State for Transport for guarantees that this wouldn’t be allowed to happen. She said:

“Teesport in my constituency is going from strength to strength. It handles 5000 vessels and over 40 million tonnes of cargo a year. It is a gateway to the world, but especially to Europe, as our largest trading partner. Will the minister guarantee Brexit will not result in trading barriers and customs checks, or result in lorries queuing up down the A66?”

In response, the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, said the government are committed to frictionless borders and were looking to improve trans-pennine rail connections to assist freight heading to ports by exploring the possibility of reopening the Skipton to Colne line. 

Speaking afterwards, Anna said:

“The minister didn’t give the commitment I was looking for and I worry that his government’s reckless approach to the Brexit negotiations will see more time consuming checks at our ports. The last thing people want to see is lorries trying to get in to Teesport backed up down the A66.

“He talked about rail connections, which are important, but the Skipton to Colne line is more helpful to the North West. On Teesside we need to see the Northallerton to Teesport line electrified but this has still not been delivered.”