Logistics will need more time to make a success of Brexit, says FTA

Published: 12 June 2020

Logistics will need more time to make a success of Brexit, says FTA
According to the FTA, in order to give businesses more security throughout 2020, additional time and resources must be put into ensuring that a deal can be reached between the UK and EU - whether this includes an extension on the transition period or not, for the sake of owner drivers and HGV firms. This followed the aftermath of recent talks - in which the deal that had been arranged was rejected by the Government. The FTA has addressed their concerns directly to MP Michael Gove, expressing that sufficient time should be provided to prepare the transport and logistics industry for the possible outcomes following Brexit. This is despite whatever outcome may follow agreements.
 
Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director for the FTA, spoke on the matter: "Logistics as a sector is fully committed to making a success of Brexit, but in order to do so, we will need time to prepare for whatever the final agreement looks like. We are not asking for the talks to be prolonged, but for sufficient time to be allowed for those required to undertake new business processes to get ready to do so.
 
She continued: “It looks more and more likely that consensus will not be reached between the two sides until the eleventh hour, with the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU ending on 31 December 2020. Therefore, there will simply not be enough time to put in place all the necessary systems and processes to help trade continue to run smoothly. This will be compounded by the fact that Christmas is traditionally our sector’s busiest time of year and there will be little time available for the necessary changes to be made.
 
"While our members stand ready to be as adaptable and flexible as possible, much of the detail of our future trading arrangements as a country is still to be decided – not least what the position will be on customs tariffs and the detail of how checks on food and animals are to be conducted at the UK and EU borders. This level of information is crucial if the UK’s supply chain is to remain strong from 1 January 2021, and we are urging Mr Gove to ensure that we have sufficient time to prepare for whatever is agreed with the EU in political negotiations."
 
The FTA was the first large scale trade association to contact the Government regarding the transition period and bring into question the ethical dilemma of delivering the outcome which was voted for - but also consider the potential risk factors for businesses and workers all over the UK without more knowledge of what to expect. An extension would at least offer a window of opportunity for those to prepare for what is to come. The availability of international backloads has been thrown into question continuously throughout the Brexit process. 
 
Mrs de Jong continued: “Up to a quarter of a million UK businesses will be required to make customs declarations for the first time when the UK leaves the EU, and that will need additional training, staff and customs agents, as well as infrastructure in our ports. Checks on livestock, fresh food and other perishable items will also need to be made at ports and airports, and we need clarity on how and where this process will work."
 
With external factors from this year to consider, the FTA hopes that their voice will be heard regarding keeping the transport industry in the loop of arrangements and prepared for the possible outcomes should Brexit take place at the end of this year. Otherwise, they hope to see the Government prepare the appropriate delays meaning businesses in the industry will have extra time to prepare for the significant change in the way international logistics will be handled.
 
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