On front line of trade, EU ports fear overnight Brexit chaos

ZEEBRUGGE, Belgium (AP) — With arms flailing and raised voices, a shipping manager and a customs chief in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge talk through all the things that could go wrong if the Brexit talks fail.

Trucks backed up for miles on the highway. Car manufacturing plants idled as deliveries are delayed. Mountains of paperwork paralyzing companies.

Not since the 1970s have port towns like this had to deal with customs in their massive trade with Britain, and all of that could change on Brexit day: March 30, 2019.

Britain and the European Union are struggling to agree on the terms of business after that, raising the risk of a sudden return of tariffs and border controls. The prospect is starting to unnerve companies and authorities, particularly in places like ports.