Freight Firms Warn of Brexit Disruption amid UK-EU Deadlock
LONDON—British freight haulers and storage companies are demanding an urgent meeting with government..
LONDON—British freight haulers and storage companies are demanding an urgent meeting with government leaders because of concern that gaps in preparations for Brexit may threaten supplies of critical goods.
Trade associations representing the companies wrote to Michael Gove, the minister overseeing Britains exit from the European Union, saying that improvements to border posts and computer systems are behind schedule.
Most of Britains food comes from the EU, much of it on trucks through the Channel port of Dover, and the freight industry is warning there could be major logjams when customs checks and other procedures have to be imposed on Jan. 1.
The groups say that if the issues arent addressed, “UK business and the supply chain that we all rely so heavily on will be severely disrupted.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Friday he was confident goods would keep flowing. The British government is investing millions in new IT systems and border facilities and recruiting thousands of customs staff to deal with the new arrangements.
More than 40 years of seamless trade with the EU will end on Jan. 1 after an 11-month transition period that followed Britains formal departure from the bloc earlier this year.
The UK will leave the blocs single market and customs union, and its unclear whether there will be tariffs and other obstacles to trade. The two sides hope to strike a free-trade deal, but negotiations are deadlocked with just months to go.
The trade groups, including the UK Warehousing Association, Logistics UK and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, said the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a supply chain that works properly.
“With transition occurring at the same time as a potential second COVID spike, it is critical we ensure the supply chain is protected, they said.
EU and British negotiators are due to meet in London on Monday for a crucial week of talks—their eighth round in negotiations that have made little progress. The EU says a deal has to be struck before November to allow time for parliamentary approval and legal vetting before the transition period expires at years end.
But the talks are deadlocked over fishing rights and rules for state aid to businesses. The EU is insisting on a “level-playing field” for companies, so British firms cant undercut the blocs environmental or workplace standards, or pump public money into UK industries.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said this week that he was “worried and Read More – Source