Eight prominent British logistics and transportation trade bodies have written to the UK government urging it speed up detailed planning for Brexit amid fears supply chains could be damaged.
Britain has already left the European Union, but a transitional arrangement to smooth the way until a new trade deal and procedures are agreed upon runs out at the end of this year.
With no new deal in sight despite negotiations, the industry fears dislocation and wants the government to step up its preparations, which it says has “significant gaps.”
“We are asking you to take seriously our concerns and listen to the detail during this roundtable so that we can collectively help the government manage through this enormous challenge with as little disruption as possible. Our aim, like yours, is to have a functional and effective border that allows goods to flow from January 1, 2021,” the eight signatories said.
Among them are the Road Haulage Association, Logistics UK, the Cold Chain Federation and the British International Freight Association. They have asked for a roundtable meeting with senior government ministers to resolve problem areas, including grant funding for intermediaries, IT and systems readiness and physical border infrastructure.
Tech is a particularly big worry, with five identified sub-issues: single entry process unit (EPU); the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), which is how companies can “pre-lodge” their customs forms before arriving at the border, and how it compares to the French SI Brexit system; smart freight, trader support service and trader/haulier readiness and timeline for delivery being flagged.
“We are concerned that mass user testing of the software will not be possible until October – or maybe even November. This is far too late for the thousands of companies,” said Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at Logistics UK.
More on this story, and how it could affect trade in Asia, will appear in an upcoming issue of Asia IP.
– Michael Mackey