Freight News, Sea

Non-tariff barriers are the big Brexit headache, says ports group

[ October 17, 2017   //   ]

There has been much attention on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU but it is important not to overlook potentially more costly disruption created from non-tariff barriers at the border, said the British Port Association (BPA) in its autumn briefing.

It said: “So far the issues of trade facilitation at the border have been well publicised but we are concerned that the recent UK-EU stalemate means that bureaucratic customs checks and potentially disruptive port health controls is a distinct possibility for all types of port traffic with Europe.”

However, BPA says that most UK ports had been relatively calm about Brexit, “with some notable exceptions” although the wider impact on the British economy remains unclear.

The challenge will be to find a solution outside the Customs Union which does not interrupt and delay the UK’s ro ro traffic, and it urges the UK Government and the EU to find a creative and sensible solution.
As well as these challenges there are a number of potential post Brexit opportunities and generally UK ports are looking at opportunities such as new trade and initiatives like free trade zones after the UK leaves the EU. BPA is also discussing with Government how the planning framework might be made to work better for ports and developers.
Brexit does provide the opportunity to make the consenting process more amenable to support growth and development at ports and BPA particularly welcomes recent pledges by UK ports minister John Hayes to overturn the recently passed EU Port Services Regulation post Brexit.

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