NAO report: Industry reaction

NAO report: Industry reaction

The freight and logistics industry has reacted angrily to a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) which confirms that businesses do not have enough time to make the changes needed for no deal in March 2019 and that the most complex issues relating to the movement of goods at the border “still need to be resolved”.
 
Commenting, RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Today, with only 156 days until the Brexit deadline becomes reality, we are still in the dark regarding the essential details. To maintain the supply chain between the UK, across the Irish border and mainland Europe, it is imperative that businesses can plan. This has not happened.
 
“The border is not ready and plans to make Kent motorways into, what are in effect glorified lorry parks are simply not enough. And Government’s claim that any increase in the number of checks will be kept to a minimum fills us with no confidence at all.
 
“We need clarity and we need it now. Time has run out. Such is the nature of today’s haulage industry that plans need to be made well in advance to ensure the smooth running of logistics operations – particularly those making the just-in-time deliveries on which the manufacturing industries on the other side of the Channel rely.”
 
Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at the FTA said: “There are still so many elements to prepare if trade is to continue to move freely into and out of the UK, from the Government IT systems required, to contingency measures to mitigate border delays and the availability of government resources to handle new controls and procedures.
 
“Despite repeated warnings from FTA since Article 50 was triggered, it is concerning to note the NAO has confirmed that it is now too late to implement new border infrastructure and that border processes on Day 1 after Brexit will be “less than optimal”. 
 
“The logistics sector is adept at adapting to change, but needs clarification on a range of elements, from the UK schedule of tariffs in the event of no deal to the arrangements that will be used for the safe passage of trucks. Logistics also needs more visibility on what would happen in terms of border controls beyond Day 1 and beyond the ‘reduced compliance’ regime that will initially be in place. 
 
“Logistics businesses are being left as the “fall guys” for the government’s lack of planning, and with most of FTA’s questions over future trading arrangements still unanswered, it will be difficult for our members to keep doing what they do best, which is adapt to new circumstances and keep Britain trading.”