As the first of the government's No-Deal Brexit papers is published today, FTA, one of the UK's leading business organisations, has warned that British business still needs detailed information to ensure that the nation continues to trade efficiently after Brexit. Whilst today's papers provide some welcome advice on how to prepare contingency plans, more information is needed both in terms of the level of detail and the areas covered, e.g. on market access for road haulage and air freight.
More importantly, logistics businesses need workable solutions to aim higher than damage control, and to keep Britain trading.
Speaking as the Department for Exiting the EU began the publication of the government's strategy papers on the UK's response to a no-deal Brexit, Sarah Laouadi, FTA's European Policy Manager urged negotiators to push for a solution to the issues still to be decided by the two sides:
"No deal would be disastrous for logistics," she said. "While preparing for every eventuality, including a no deal position, is a sound strategy, it should not be the end game which negotiators accept. There are clear problems which could face our supply chain if agreements cannot be reached including customs and border arrangements, the continuity of trade agreements and vehicle permits, as well as the continuation of business access to EU workers. Solutions for these areas are key to the continued success of British business, both at home and abroad, after 29 March 2019."
As Ms Laouadi continued, the UK's logistics industry is a key component in the nation's economic success, but one which still needs answers if British business is to continue to prosper:
"The UK's supply chain is the blood in the veins of the UK's economy, keeping schools, hospitals and businesses stocked, shop shelves full and retailers provided with the goods they need to prosper. Without quick progress on the key elements that FTA has outlined, the resulting disruption could have disastrous impacts for British and EU business. A no-deal agreement should only be considered once every opportunity to reach a deal has been explored. Negotiators on both sides need to keep working to ensure that Britain and the EU keep on trading, day in, day out."
FTA will continue supporting its members in their efforts to prepare for Brexit. To help operators understand and adapt to the changing international landscape, FTA launched the International Road Transport Operator Conferences, taking place in October 2018.
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.