The clock is still ticking on Brexit, but United Kingdom’s logistics community and the British Parliament are still working hard to diffuse the situation.
Last week, Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s second proposed Brexit plan, which would have defined the terms for Britain’s exit from the European Union. With just 11 days left until the deadline, there is still some chance that a deal could be agreed upon, with May planning a third attempt to pass her plan this week. However, the regional logistics community is gearing up for the worst-case scenario – a no-deal Brexit.
Today, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) again warned its members that they should continue preparing for such a scenario, regardless of whether May’s plan finally succeeds or is put to a last-minute public referendum before the March 29 deadline.
“A no-deal departure would be very disruptive and damaging for the U.K. economy as a whole, but freight forwarders… would play a key role in tidying up the mess left by the politicians by ensuring U.K. importers and exporters can continue trading with the rest of Europe as best as possible after March 29,” said Robert Keen, BIFA’s director general.
There is a predominant sense of dread emanating from stakeholders of logistics and commerce companies that stand to witness major disruptions to operations, which will start at borders and seep backwards through supply chains. Most worrisome is the contentious border of Northern Ireland, which would become officially separated from the Republic of Ireland, raising the risk of potential unrest for the first time in the region since the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.
But Keen said that the organization has been helping members prepare for the no-deal Brexit scenario over the last two years, and seemed confident that the fallout of a no-deal outcome will be manageable.
“One thing is certain, our members are ready, willing and able to clear up any mess regarding the movement of freight into and from the U.K., created by politicians,” he said.