With the future of the United Kingdom still mired in uncertainty due to the ongoing Brexit discussions, many people remain concerned about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. Although this scenario now looks to be more unlikely, in light of a deal being struck with the European Union and agreed by Parliament
In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, the country would immediately leave the EU single market and customs union, agreements that exist to allow for easier trade between EU countries. In this scenario, new trade terms would be set by the World Trade Organisation, which is a serious concern to industries that are heavily reliant on trade. A tariff would be applied to all goods transported to the EU, while border checks could lead to massive delays at major ports – affecting the ability of traders to send goods quickly and cheaply to mainland Europe.
In anticipation of a no-deal Brexit, the EU has approved the extension of contingency measures designed to ensure transport by road and air remains as efficient as possible. These measures are essential for ensuring that goods can be transported easily across international waters – without them, a no-deal Brexit would be extremely damaging to the logistics industry, creating traffic blockages at ports as vehicles go through customs and increasing the cost of transport.
The road haulage contingency runs until July 2020, while the aviation access contingency will run until October 2020 – and while the Freight Transport Association have welcomed these measures, they warn that there are restrictions that are likely to have a negative impact on the logistics industry.
The FTA’s European policy manager Sara Laouadi said:
“The extension of the No Deal contingency access is welcome news for logistics companies currently preparing for Brexit, and is something which FTA has been lobbying for on behalf of its members. Both agreements will allow some degree of continuity, but it is clear that permanent solutions should be reached to enable businesses to plan efficiently for long-term business stability and avoid yet another cliff edge.”
Laouadi went on to underline the potential pitfalls of the contingency measures, acknowledging that “they come with restrictions that will increase the cost of transport, create unnecessary red tape and could simply fail those specialised haulage companies that serve a particularly dense network of customers and multiple sites in Europe”, while emphasising that “a permanent arrangement should be prioritised to keep goods flying to and from the UK”.
In Kent, contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit were put in place last month but have now been stalled as a result of a further extension to the Brexit deadline. As part of ‘Operation Brock’, junctions eight and nine of the eastbound M20, which leads to both Dover port and the Eurotunnel at Folkestone, were closed off to all traffic except for lorries, with all other vehicles redirected via the westbound side of the motorway.
Operation Brock was created to limit the potential disruption a no-deal Brexit to the area, preventing the possibility of gridlock as a backlog of lorries queue to get into the Port of Dover. The contingency plan was welcomed by the Road Haulage Association as a sensible measure which should lessen the impact of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
At Transmode, we understand that the uncertainty of Brexit is nerve-racking and taxing. We pride ourselves on providing a service that is agile, adaptable and more than capable of responding to any challenges Brexit brings in order to keep your business moving. Get in touch to find out more.