The Financial Times has today reported that supermarkets in Northern Ireland are struggling to fill their shelves because of the new post-Brexit trading arrangements, with hundreds of products caught up in supply-chain delays.
The new rules are part of the Northern Ireland protocol — the mechanism agreed by the UK and EU in 2019 to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Under the protocol, Northern Ireland continues to apply EU internal market and customs rules to maintain frictionless trade over the land border with the republic. This means vast volumes of new paperwork are required to process Irish Sea checks on shipments from Great Britain to the region.
However, the Financial Times reports that the extra red tape has left many food suppliers facing lengthy delays on shipping goods to the region, resulting in empty shelves for time-sensitive products like fresh fruit and vegetables and chilled meat.
The report says Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury and Tesco have all been hit with new red tape and customs paperwork introduced following the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1.