The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is advising its members to continue preparing for the UK to leave with a no-deal from the European Union (EU) on 29 March “until further clarity is obtained”.
PM Theresa May is set to try and get her withdrawl agreement through Parliament for a third time this week after failing twice, while last week MPs voted to seek an extension of Article 50 with the EU.
As it stands though, the UK will leave the bloc on 29 March and BIFA’s director general, Robert Keen said that the trade association has been advising its freight forwarder members to prepare for a no deal for several weeks.
He said: “Confusion reigns and with less than a fortnight to go before Brexit, no proposal is off the table and some suggest that a ‘no deal’ exit can happen because last week’s vote was advisory.
“A no-deal departure would be very disruptive and damaging for the UK economy as a whole, but freight forwarders – many of whom are Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited – would play a key role in tidying up the mess left by the politicians by ensuring UK importers and exporters can continue trading with the rest of Europe as best as possible after March 29.
“I am pleased to report that BIFA members are ahead of the curve and planning for every eventuality, with their trade association trying to make sure it gets relevant information to its members following the release of that information from the various UK government departments.
“BIFA’s executive management has engaged with various government departments over the last two years regarding the issues that affect the movement of visible trade post March 29th, in order to provide our members with advice on those discussions whenever procedures are finalised.
“Our members have also been discussing the possible impacts with their clients.
“Large and small, BIFA members have taken actions to review all options to overcome the disorder that a no-deal Brexit could bring to international trade in order to define sustainable solutions as the set of Brexit conditions becomes clearer.
“One thing is certain, our members are ready, willing and able to clear up any mess regarding the movement of freight into and from the UK, created by politicians.”