For an ATA Carnet, every item must be listed on the official form and, while a single carnet is valid for a year, once completed, they cannot be changed. Where there are multiple venues, loads vary so much that new applications are often needed for every event.
And, in the highly competitive environment of motor racing, while loading oten goes on almost to the minute of departure – not a problem in the Single Market – to be on the safe side, applications for Carnets must be lodged 2-3 days before travel.
Nor does the Carnet remove the need for customs formalities. These include documentation checks and verification inspections, to ensure than all equipment is listed, and checks when they leave the country to make sure the carnet-holders take out everything they brought in. Such checks cannot avoid adding delays to the transport process which, currently, enjoys free movement without customs control.
Once the material has been allowed to enter under the temporary admission procedures, bizarre “red tape” provisions apply. For instance, once imported it must be re-exported within a variable time frame (down to three months in some circumstances). Furthermore, nothing imported on the carnet can be disposed of locally, without giving five days’ notice and getting written permission.
Then, specifically, import of “consumables” is not permitted under the carnet system, so oil, fuel and lubricants, as well as tyres in some cases, must be obtained locally.
Any foodstuffs, including stocks held in mobile kitchens, cannot be included in the carnet, and have to be routed via a Border Control Post, after the issue of veterinary inspection certificates before departure.
This effectively means that the lavish hospitality services sometime supplied at racing venues – especially in F1 – including the provision of gourmet meals for Vips prepared in central kitchens, can no longer be serviced from a UK base.
Nor is it just motorsport which is going to be affected in this way. Music gigs have already been mentioned in this context, but show-jumping, cycle touring, film-making, exhibitions and many other activities – sporting and non-sporting will be caught in the net.
In terms of motorsport, a number of UK-based championships and series organisers have opted to either not have any European trips during 2021 or delay them to later in the year,. Part of this is to do with Covid-19, but the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has been a contributing factor.
For many operations, the added costs and complexities will doubtless reduce the opportunities to participate in European events and industries supporting these activities may also be threatened.
When, perhaps, the legacy media can get its head round the complexity of carnets, and what they entail, it might be able to tear itself away from on-the-spot reports about ham sandwiches and report on an issue which is going to have a long-standing impact.