The EU accounts for as much as half of the UK’s freight trade business, which could be in danger if the country’s decides to do a ‘hard’ Brexit (i.e., leaving without a deal in place).
An additional 20 per cent of logistics operations originate from free trade deals that are a result of the country’s EU membership. Hence, there is a need to reach an agreement that would ensure an uninterrupted logistics flow along British borders.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) believes that a hard Brexit would not only be detrimental to the UK, but also to neighbouring countries. The absence of a smooth transition would result in longer border inspections for cross-border freight. For instance, some FTA member companies haul freight as much as five times daily between France and the UK.
The industry’s future after Brexit would further put greater importance on improving efficiency in logistics and production lines. Companies should consider different resources, from automated to rollertrack systems, such as the rollerbeds from Hydraroll.
A possible trade disruption is only an example of Brexit’s negative implications, since there is also the issue of uncertainty over the status of the European Economic Area (EEA) workers.
Mainland European workers form a significant part of the UK logistics sector’s workforce. According to the FTA, EEA workers comprise 14 per cent of lorry drivers in the country. Those who work as van drivers account for 12 per cent of the total, while 24 per cent are warehouse employees.
If there are no clear guidelines on the status of EEA workers post-Brexit, the industry faces a potential shortfall of employees, particularly for lorry drivers, said FTA head of skills Sally Gilson.
The British government should work out a deal that would limit, if not eliminate, the negative impact of Brexit for the logistics industry. Otherwise, job and economic growth could be at risk.