Brexit is looming large with the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty moving closer by the day. This will have a significant impact on haulage companies and on many other industries.
There has been a strong emphasis by the British Prime Minister on keeping trade stable and a lot of work will be done to ensure international trade deals are in place. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has recently released its Brexit Manifesto for the UK’s haulage industry which sets out the 10 key areas it believes are critical to guarantee a smooth trading process.
Here’s an overview of the manifesto….
1. Forging New Deals with Leading and Emerging Economic Powers
Brexit will allow Britain to negotiate its own new trade deals around the globe. It can’t do this while still a member of the UK and it is having informal chats with all key trading partners in the meantime. Transport and logistics companies will be keeping a keen eye on how these discussions are going in the coming weeks and months.
2. Trade with Developing Countries
The EU has carried out significant work developing a Generalised Scheme of Preferences for trade with developing countries. The rules allow for developing countries to pay less or in many cases no duties on goods they export to EU members. This helps them grow their own economies by getting access to the large EU marketplace.
The UK will need to bear this in mind and establish a similar format or they will have to adhere to World Trade Organisation rules – meaning consumer prices may rise for imported products.
3. World Class Infrastructure and Transport Links for a Global Powerhouse
The manifesto states that investing in and upgrading infrastructure will be a vital part of Brexit. Upgrading road connections to major ports will give haulage companies the access needed to reach the EU and other key markets.
4. No Barriers to Trade with EU
There are many implications that could cause issues such as tariffs and increased administration work causing barriers to trade. The FTA has said that it will be important that delivery companies are able to trade with EU countries easily and with no increased costs.
5. Seamless Access to the EU Market for Transport Companies
The Trade Association would like to see a continuation of the seamless access to EU markets for UK registered haulage companies that currently takes place. At the moment UK registered vehicles can move freely between different EU member states and this is an efficient, practical approach. Any move which may impact on this access will be very closely monitored by transport companies going forward.
Ireland is often discussed as a special case as it’s an extremely important trading partner for the UK. Ireland shares the only physical border with the UK and a lot of trade takes place across the country and between it and the UK. In a recent blog post we discussed some of the uncertainty with Brexit for Irish haulage companies and a lot of what we discussed is still valid and the future is uncertain in this respect.
The FTA is recommending that freight moving over the border in Northern Ireland should not be subject to control checks or slowed down by additional red tape. The FTA would also like to see that Irish registered haulage vehicles en route to the EU would not be overly delayed travelling across the UK post Brexit.
7. Opportunities for Regulatory Simplification
The manifesto has highlighted the fact that in many cases it makes sense to keep the EU rules in place but equally there is an opportunity to do a full review e.g. to improve certain areas such as the working time directive for mobile workers.
8. Retaining Access to Talent
209,940 employees from the EU work in the logistics sector. The sector is in danger of facing a severe labour shortage over the next decade. The industry will need to be able hold on to its in staff and continue to recruit from outside of the UK or face even further pressures.
The FTA has also stated that funding from EU for upskilling for the logistics sector was available through EU channels and the UK government will need to provide similar support to SME’s.
9. Designing a Supportive Domestic Industrial Policy
The logistics industry needs to be part of a supportive environment to stay healthy and maintain current growth levels. Taxation levels are one key factor in creating the right environment and increase positivity and continued financial support will be required.
10. Brexit that Works for Industry
A smooth transition with the bare minimum of disruption is going to be key. Stability is going to be a major factor for the success of every industry and haulage professionals will be closely monitoring the situation. It’s important that no drastic or unexpected changes to rules or procedures takes place.
Consultation with key players such as the FTA will be very important to ensuring that the transition to deliver Brexit works for the industry.
View a full copy of the report.