ROTTERDAM (Reuters) – The “Brexit Monster”, a furry blue mascot created by the Netherlands to personify problems linked to Britain’s EU departure, made an appearance at the Port of Rotterdam on Tuesday to warn that customs controls are coming on Jan. 1.
“‘Deal or no deal’ is, for the port operations, not relevant,” said Mark Dijk, the port’s Brexit coordinator.
“From that date on all customs formalities and veterinary formalities have to be in place.”
The Brexit monster is far from scary, merely a man dressed up in blue furry headwear, with the same fur on his arms and shoes, who is rolled out from time to time to remind people about the serious side of Brexit.
The Netherlands, one of Britain’s closest trading partners, brought out the Brexit Monster this time due to concerns the coronavirus pandemic has reduced awareness around Britain’s departure.
Although Britain technically left the union at the start of 2020, there has been a one-year grace period before the introduction of traffic controls now set to begin.
Around 3,000 trucks going to or coming from Britain pass through the port daily, Dijk said. He said the port expects 100-200 won’t have their documents in order in the first week.
The port has fenced off areas as overflow zones for drivers who don’t have paperwork ready.
The Netherlands, the euro zone’s fifth-largest economy and world’s fifth-largest exporter, expects to incur 2.3 billion euros (2.03 billion pounds) in direct costs by 2023 as a result of Britain’s departure from the European Union.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Nick Macfie)