Britain's logistics businesses and international supply chain managers are being urged to recognise the change of government policy and accelerate their preparations for a No Deal Brexit by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The advice comes after the appointment of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister, who has made clear his intention to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October, 2019 if a new withdrawal agreement cannot be reached with Brussels.
"Logistics businesses need to take the prospect of a No Deal Brexit seriously and speed up any preparations which can be made," said FTA deputy CEO and head of Brexit readiness, James Hookham.
"While there are still areas of uncertainty for those tasked with moving goods and services between the UK and Europe, most of the requirements that will kick in in the event of No Deal have now been published and are freely available.
"In the run up to the March 29 Brexit, FTA lobbied the UK and the EU to obtain important temporary easements and contingency measures which will assist the industry to keep our trading links open.
"However, many of these will expire, or are due to lapse shortly after the new 31 October Brexit deadline and FTA is urging the new ministerial line ups to prioritise extending or re-establishing the necessary measures to ensure trade can continue to flow freely to and from British industry."
The FTA has written to Michael Gove, new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and responsible for co-ordinating No Deal preparations, to urge rapid completion of outstanding procedures and extension of the concessions. The FTA also urged high level co-ordination with the logistics sector to protect the economic health of the UK and the welfare of consumers.
"But while these discussions are ongoing with government, exporters, importers, freight forwarders and logistics operators in the UK and those working internationally should be taking steps to understand what they may have to do, how it should be done and who they need to deal with to keep their operations flowing," added Hookham.
"The UK's supply chains are highly interconnected and complex and need to be protected if Britain is to keep trading efficiently with its biggest export markets in Europe. We would still much rather the UK leaves the EU with an Agreement that assures the continuity of frictionless trade but if this is not possible, then as an industry we will need to be ready for the challenging and complicated task of navigating the requirements that will apply."
The FTA speaks to the British government 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.
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