As Brexit looms, many importers and exporters are considering the impacts on the movement of their freight. Some modes of freight movement will be affected more than others and it is essential to keep up to date on the latest state of play to plan ahead as much as is practical.
At RISA, we have been pulling together the most up to date information from BIFA (British International Freight Association), the Department for International Trade and Open to Export to bring you the following overview, covering forms of transport individually.
Road Freight – This will be significantly affected by Brexit, as 80% of our trade with the EU (both imports and exports) is moved by road. Brexit will signal the need for new regulation and a way to implement customs formalities. Potentially, there will also be driver-related issues caused by a change in rules of people moving across borders.
These issues can be mitigated if the UK continues to follow the current standards, but there will be a need to ensure that International Road Licensing, Employer Certifications and Vehicle Technical Standards are aligned to avoid too much divergence. BIFA suggest that a new Land Transport Agreement is made with the EU as a priority.
Air Freight – Aviation will require urgent legislative attention as many of the agreements allowing UK flights to move to and from countries in and out of the EU will cease upon Brexit. The UK will cease to be “Community Air Carriers” and no longer be bound under the Multilateral Agreement on the Establishment of a European Common Aviation Area. Pricing, capacity and frequency of flights will also be affected as UK carriers will no longer be able to establish themselves in other EU countries. The UK could join the European Community Aviation Area, but this would also mean continuing to accept the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The other option is to forge a new agreement close in terms to the current ECAA, which must be agreed to minimise disruption.
Much of the UK’s non-EU aviation has come about as a result of agreements made within the EU, therefore these will need to be renegotiated. The UK will need to sign up to the EU-US agreement, or agree a new bilateral deal with the US.
Ocean Freight – This is considered to be the mode of transport likely to be least affected, with the main issues being seen as more congestion at ports due to customs checks. There is also currently a question around whether the will be fewer direct ocean services to the UK after Brexit, however current belief is that this would be mitigated by a greater use of feeder vessels.
At RISA, we will continue to monitor the ongoing negotiations and post updates as more information becomes available. If you would like to discuss how this may affect your business, please feel free to contact us with your questions.