The European Union (EU) has granted United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May an extension for the country to leave the union by October 31, after two years of frustrated negotiations.
The new 31 October deadline averts the prospect of the UK having to leave the EU without a deal this Friday. Under EU rules, the UK will have to hold European Parliament elections in May, or face leaving on 1 June without a deal.
Member of across the logistics industry chimed in their opinions.
Pauline Bastidon, FTA's Head of Global and European Policy, said: "FTA welcomes the fact that the potential cliff edge of a No Deal departure from the EU has been postponed for now and is grateful for the extra preparation time the agreed extension offers to our members. While the risk of No Deal has receded for now, it is an outcome which cannot be excluded further down the line - indeed, it remains the legal default, in the absence of alternative arrangements. FTA is therefore calling on its members to use this extra time wisely. The association, which speaks for the logistics industry, will keep pushing for the best outcome for the sector, while continuing to support its members in their preparations and remaining vigilant should the situation change."
John Perry, managing director of leading supply chain and logistics consultancy SCALA, commented: “With the EU leaders granting the UK a further six month extension, we are now in a very interesting, if somewhat precarious position. While May is still seemingly persisting with her withdrawal agreement, others are now seriously discussing the possibility of a second, this time binding, referendum. Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice has ruled that it would be legal for the UK to cancel Brexit, and Donald Tusk has suggested EU leaders would be happy with that decision.
“While not at long as many of us had hoped, this extension gives UK business one last chance to make our voices heard, and demand that we at the very least stay in the customs union. However, whatever the outcome in October, these additional few months give businesses an invaluable opportunity to prepare themselves as thoroughly as possible.
“The decision many companies must now make is whether or not to continue to stockpile, which is an incredibly costly endeavor, negatively impacting cashflow and increasing expenses for storage and warehousing. This extension could allow them to instead look beyond stockpiling, and put in place more effective, long-term risk-reduction strategies. There is even enough time for affected organisations to consider applying to become an Authorised Economic Operator, which is widely agreed to be one of the most effective mitigating factors in any Brexit situation.”