Kevin Richardson FCILT, Chief Executive, CILT(UK), represented logistics and transport professionals at a recent Brexit round table meeting, hosted by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, headed the discussion with professional representatives, the Department for Transport (DfT) and other Government Departments to consider plans for Brexit, including a no deal scenario.
BREXIT ROUND TABLE MEETING
Reflecting on the meeting, Kevin Richardson said: “CILT is pleased to work with the DfT and other Government Departments in the greater good of the national interest. Logistics and transport are key to our citizens’ freedoms, security, and national prosperity – and frictionless borders are essential. All must now play their part; inaction is not an option, and everyone should collaborate on creating the most effective and efficient solutions for our future outside the EU, as a significant global player.”
CILT has coined and long-championed that frictionless borders are crucial. The Government has stated that it is seeking ‘free flowing borders’ and that ‘liberalised access’ was being requested and offered by the UK. There is no doubt that excessive queues, delays in transit and extensive border checks would not help anybody and would especially hurt the consumer and economies, in all countries. This is a particular issue for time perishable products, including fresh produce and work in progress movements.
The meeting learned that a number of truck management plans were underway, focusing on the Kent corridor to accommodate queues if required and necessary because of restrictions beyond UK border points. Such queues would predominantly impact EU hauliers as well as those EU countries exporting to the UK. The Government believes that such issues should promote reasonable negotiations in the best interest of the European neighbourhood.
Plans already underway include; vehicle management planning within the UK for export flows, permit systems, International Driving Licences, bilateral agreements, European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) and Trailer Registration systems. It is not planned that additional checks at the border will be conducted, and risk based interventions – as currently undertaken for deep sea movements – may be used and potentially carried out away from ports of entry.
During the meeting, CILT requested that the Government provides clarity on plans and timelines to assist businesses in their contingency planning; as well as to conduct research and assess logistics capacity against the demands of the nation under different scenarios, so that major gaps, risks and the implications for private and public sector investment can be determined. This should include assessments on access to non-UK EU labour on which the profession is heavily dependent.
Kevin Richardson says: “It is imperative that we work together to get a solution that ensures that our supply chains continue to operate without friction. Although we should be prepared for a no deal scenario, CILT will continue to highlight the disruption that such a situation will present to both UK and EU businesses and societies.
“The Institute has been consistent in its advice to government through our Brexit round table meetings, Select Committee responses and our involvement in advisory groups. One area that CILT has been advocating for many months is the importance of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accreditation as a means of supporting international supply chains in customs applications and processing.”