Looming delays for Brexit owing to coronavirus?
18 May 2020
Earlier this year we wrote an article about the Brexit. What exactly was decided in January? And when are we going to notice the impact in the rest of Europe? We also advised you on preparations you could make to ensure your operations run smoothly. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has been severely affected by the coronavirus. This is also reflected in the plans and agreements concerning Brexit. This update tells you about the current state of affairs, the consequences, and what plans the British government is making to streamline trade.
Request for postponement of Brexit from the logistics sector
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United Kingdom in March, the British have got other priorities right now. Several British logistics companies are afraid that they will not be ready in time to prepare for Brexit in January 2021. Represented by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), an official request for an extension of the transitional period has now been made to the government in London.
The actual withdrawal from the European Union is still scheduled for 31 December 2020. But now that the distribution of food and medical goods and materials requires some much attention, the logistics sector is not getting round to the necessary preparations. Apart from the difficulties they are experiencing due to disruptions in the logistical process as a result of the coronacrisis, they are also faced with higher absenteeism due to illness and concerns about the profitability of customers.
The British Government views the landscape
Of course, it is not only the logistics companies that are worried whether they are ready for the approaching Brexit. The British government is also fully aware of its vulnerability. Both now and after Brexit. The British have noticed after the coronavirus outbreak that they are dependent like no other. This further illustrates the logistical problems of the United Kingdom.
Following an article in British business newspaper the Financial Times, we can conclude that the government is examining current and future logistics options. Alternatives are currently being considered outside the dominant Dover-Calais route. A larger network of ports should ensure better supplies to the United Kingdom.
Capacity and cooperation with other ports
This also reveals the possible capacity of other ports such as Harwich and Felixstowe. Through these ports, the British will be able to cooperate with Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Rotterdam and will therefore become less dependent on France.
The development of ports on the east coast for more roll-on, roll-off traffic would allow more trade with Belgium or the Netherlands in the event of disruption in France. Felixstowe, the largest container port in Great Britain, has already started developing its facilities.
Expected strikes in case of a delayed Brexit
The target date for the Brexit is still 1 January 2021. If preparations are not completed in time, it is feared that there will be long queues in front of French customs offices.
Previous action by ferry workers has already disrupted work in the port. Boris Johnson’s hard bargaining techniques against a fishing quota threaten to lead to renewed protests. And, as always, this will have a major impact on the import possibilities of the British.
For additional information, questions and answers regarding Brexit, you may always contact your Ritra contact person.
Read the Financial Times article here.
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