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Brexit: 5 Issues For Courier & Haulage Industry To Consider
Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 09:10
BREXIT - For couriers, the consequences seem obvious. Reduced trade with Europe equals less demand for road haulage & reduced exports overall.
Below is a guide to the potential implications of Brexit for the UK logistics industry.
This is the battleground for so much of the Brexit debate: the likely impact of leaving the EU on the UK’s balance of payments.
According to the government, 44 percent of all UK exports find their way to EU countries. The implication is clear: leave the EU and that figure might diminish, putting a significant dent in the UK’s GDP.
For courier companies, the consequences seem obvious. Reduced trade with mainland Europe may equate to less demand for road haulage – even if it doesn’t result in reduced exports overall. That’s because the UK might negotiate trade deals with other, non-EU countries which may not be so easily accessible by road.
On the plus side, changes are unlikely to happen immediately. Established patterns of trade are difficult to change quickly because of capacity. And all the time trade flows, we will need logistics.
Even if the movement of UK trucks through Europe remains undiminished, many in the logistics industry expect stricter border controls if we leave the EU.
Over time, Brexit will create barriers at borders for the administration of trade in both directions. That will impact logistics efficiency, because goods will move slower.
A driver shortage
Talking of the free movement of people, one potential knock-on effect of leaving the EU – and tighter migration controls – could be a reduction in the number of EU citizens working for UK-based companies.
This could have a negative impact on the road haulage industry, which relies heavily on drivers from EU member states.
With less opportunity to recruit such drivers, the industry’s ability to serve the economy could be compromised. But more investment in recruiting and training UK drivers through schemes such as the Trailblazer apprenticeship programme.
As with so many aspects of Brexit, it is difficult to predict the legal ramifications of a vote to leave.
The UK’s transport and road safety laws are unlikely to be amended dramatically in the light of Brexit. The basic fundamentals of safe and compliant operation are not going to change.
One area that will require some adjustment is in relation to employment law governing EU workers non-resident in the UK –including freight drivers.
Haulage operators need to be prepared for any changes by making sure they are fully compliant with current legislation.
Now would be a good time [for operators] to review the systems and records in place to ensure that such drivers are properly employed, properly inducted and properly supervised.
It’s possible that Brexit could increase operating costs for logistics companies. Trade tariffs within the EU would raise the bottom line for exporters – a financial hit they might try to pass on to third-party transport providers.
Moreover, reduced freedom of movement around the continent will impair operating efficiency, and inevitably reduce hauliers’ margins.