The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warming logistics businesses to activate no deal Brexit plans as Friday (12 April) is still the legal date for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).
The FTA is advising all businesses with EU supply chains to have their plans ready for possible implementation this weekend as the clock ticks down.
PM Theresa May is set to plead to the EU at a summit tonight for an extension of Article 50. Her government has been in talks with the Labour Party about working a deal out that could get through Parliament after her withdrawal agreement was voted down three times by MPs.
“On Brexit, nothing has been decided,” said FTA deputy chief executive officer, James Hookham, “and with so many complicated and interdependent discussions going on, both in Westminster and Brussels, it would be easy for businesses to get caught up in the rhetoric and be lulled into a sense of complacency.
“Just because conversations are being had about the possibility of an extension to Article 50, there is no certainty that this will take place.
“The trading relationship between the UK and EU is hanging on by its fingernails this week and has the real potential to collapse into a No Deal Brexit if politicians go too close to the edge.
“FTA is urging all businesses involved in UK–EU trade not to rely on political statements or aspirations in their contingency planning but to recognise the legal landmarks and the real risks to business continuity.
“If agreement on a way forward is not reached by Wednesday evening, then there is a real danger of the cliff edge giving way and taking the entirety of UK-EU trade with it.”
Hookham said businesses should continue to prepare for a no deal scenario on Friday: “The risk of No Deal is still very much with us, leaving those businesses managing supply chains between the UK and the EU exposed to potential disruption and rising costs, with possibly as little as 48 hours’ notice.
“If logistics businesses are to keep Britain trading efficiently, their plans for ‘No Deal’ trading conditions need to be made ready now, for possible implementation this Friday evening.”