Businesses fear big hold-ups at the docks when the UK leaves the EU customs area because of untrained staff.
The British Chambers of Commerce says the government has not invested enough in training for companies faced with new customs paperwork to fill in.
Ministers have set aside £34m to help up to 250,000 companies that trade with the EU.
But figures obtained by the BBC under freedom of information show just 878 firms have received a total of £17.5m.
HM Revenue and Customs said “the funding has already helped fund thousands of training courses as well as those companies improving IT hardware and growing staff”.
As it stands the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, is set