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Alarm bells ring at FTA over Brexit

[ September 24, 2018   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association(FTA) says it is deeply concerned by the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations and the rhetoric used on both sides in the past few days.  With the threat of No Deal looming on the horizon, FTA is urging the UK and EU-27 leaders, including the European Commission, to focus on areas which will not be able to function without agreements, like air freight and international haulage, to keep trade flowing freely after the UK leaves the EU.

Head of European policy, Pauline Bastidon, said: “With only six months left until Brexit, it is fair to say that the negotiations have not progressed as far as we would have hoped.  With so much political posturing playing out in the media, it is easy to forget that there are deeply integrated supply chains and jobs at risk if things go wrong.

“In the event of No Deal – a scenario identified as a serious possibility by both sides – new agreements would be needed to allow trucks, planes and trains to cross the borders with the EU, keep goods flowing and shops and factories supplied.

“Border delays and disruptions, as well as additional costs and red tape are serious worries for our members, but the biggest showstopper of them all would be drastic reductions to the international movement of freight vehicles and planes.  The main priority for the logistics sector is to obtain simply saying that things will be sorted out or that both sides will take unilateral measures in isolation, as suggested repeatedly on the EU side, is no insurance or reassurance for businesses which are currently negotiating contracts with no knowledge of whether or not they will be able to provide the services they are committed to without market access being permitted.

“Restrictions facing aviation in the event of a No Deal are well documented, but we need to add equally worring restrictions to international haulage to the mix.  Vehicles travelling to and from Europe, regardless of where transport companies are registered, will need to have the right to access both the UK and EU haulage markets, if only to transport goods cross-border.  In other words, in the absence of a liberalised arrangement with continued recognition of operator licensing on both sides of the border, permits would be needed.”

FTA says that the existing permit system would only cover 2-5% of industry’s needs as the 2019 quota for the UK is restricted to 1,224 annual permits – compared with up to 16,000 vehicle movements taking place across the Dover Straits every day

FTA is calling for both sides to start working on contingency plans and mitigating measures for transport as an urgent priority.

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