The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned the incoming UK Prime Minister to consider the impacts a ‘No deal Brexit’ would have on UK-EU supply chains as said it be the “worst possible outcome” for the UK economy.
The Conservative Party will announce today whether either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt will replace Theresa May as PM, and the FTA is aiming to ensure the coordination of logistics activities at a high level to minimise and manage these effects in order to keep Britain trading.
“FTA has worked closely with government over the past three years to develop contingency plans for a No Deal Brexit,” said James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the FTA. “We remain hugely concerned at the fragility of these plans and the state of readiness of traders, carriers and agencies on both sides of the border to implement them flawlessly as early as 31 October.”
He said as an apolitical organisation, it does not dispute the decision of the EU Referendum but is convinced by members that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be the “worst possible outcome for the economy and is to be avoided at all costs”.
Hookham added: “We are however encouraging our members to prepare for all eventualities, but in order to do so, they need urgent action from Government, starting with the extension of easements previously conceded for 29 March, some of which will have expired before 31 October.
“We have offered FTA’s support to both candidates in the Tory party leadership election to provide advice and guidance moving into such a crucial period for the future success of the British economy.”
Hookham said many pieces of the “jigsaw” remain incomplete if traders and hauliers are to continue to operate effectively after 31 October, but government preparations seem to have stalled.
“We need these procedures to be completed and pending questions to be clarified and answered as soon as possible Livelihoods are dependent on cross border trade, both in Ireland and on the mainland, and the clock is ticking if businesses are to adopt and adapt to new trading processes and learn new procedures,” he said.
“Most importantly, there needs to be certainty around the what will happen at the Irish land border for the haulage businesses that will be the first to cross it on the first morning of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.”
As part of the approach to both MPs, FTA has offered to brief Johnson and Hunt fully on the issues involved and potential areas of concern for its members, and also volunteered to join Hunt’s proposed Logistics Co-ordination Committee.
Hookham added: “Britain’s supply chain is at the heart of business across the country and is a tightly interdependent operation which supports those trading both domestically and internationally. Focus on Brexit seems to have waned in government during the leadership election, but it is of vital importance that preparations are revived at the earliest possible opportunity.
“As the leading business organisation in logistics, FTA has an unrivalled depth of knowledge and a unique perspective on the end to end supply chain process and is keen to provide any assistance required to keep Britain trading, regardless of the outcome in October. We look forward to hearing from the new Tory leader at his earliest convenience.”