Analysing your current supply chain and planning for possible futures makes sense.
A proportion of businesses feel that planning for a worst case scenario is pointless, as costs will simply be too high. We sympathise, changes in tariffs, VAT status, or customs procedures will make movement of goods more complex.
There are still opportunities to cope with change, by looking ahead and becoming more agile. The ready made, pan EU system we have grown used to can be worked with as an outsider, through finding alternatives.
Our staff are reviewing a range of freight and logistics options, to support clients regardless of the Brexit outcome. Core considerations are outlined below.
Brexit & Road Freight
A long queue outside Dover is an easy picture for the media to paint, yet this could turn into reality. Looking at alternatives throughout the UK is useful.
Northern ports, such as Hull and Immingham are developing in anticipation of Brexit. Using them will require changed behaviour, with less frequent ferries, longer journey times, in some cases drop off and collect, rather than driver accompanied loads.
They will still make sense for a proportion of loads, or splitting a project into different loads. The channel port turn up and go model can also be substituted with container use, again in whole, or part.
Whilst this may seem arduous, there will be times when the overall journey, or environmental impact are improved. The key will be detailed planning, based on your needs, your clients needs and in depth knowledge of options.
Air Freight & Brexit
Along with passenger transport, air freight is governed by the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). An organisation we could join as an independent nation, although this would be at odds with the ECCA being partly overseen by the European Court of Justice.
Current groupings also bring issues, such as British Airways IAG partnership with Aer Lingus and Iberia. Neither will flights beyond the EU be plain sailing, as arrangements such as the US – EU open skies policy will no longer apply.
Many similar treaties would need to be replaced, unless a new agreement between the EU and UK magically arrives in time. Neither is air freight only about traffic rights, border controls could prove as problematic.
New trade and customs controls need to be managed, along with security, or weight checks, environmental, or agricultural inspections. Ongoing digitalisation will help but the extra customs officers France and Holland are employing will be required at airports, as well as seaports.
Post Brexit air freight is an undermentioned point. The probability is that carriers will be found but cost and timing benefits the EU single aviation market has delivered will not be quite the same.
Larger airlines may seek EU air operator certificates and bases but this will not directly influence UK imports, or exports. As with other types of freight, good solutions will require diligent costing, planning and flexibility.
We treated road and sea freight more or less as one entity, as they are in many cases. There will still be similar implications for any sea freight and possibly for driving commercial vehicles in Europe.
The UK government are relying on the 1968 Vienna Convention, along with a new Haulage Permits & Trailer Registration Bill. The reality of licences, certificates of professional competence, insurance and driver attestations may not be covered.
Our only absolute guarantee is 1,224 entry permits per year, which covers two busy days UK to EU traffic. Hardly an answer and we will have to see what is agreed, along with what is enforced, perhaps common sense will play a part.
Larger freight companies equipping themselves with EU bases may also assist, along with the overall remedy, business agility and detailed planning. If we can help in forming your plans for the future, by all means talk with our team.