European Shippers’ Council says U.K. logistics community needs more time for Brexit

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) has joined the ranks of industry voices desperately warning of the potential repercussions from the March Brexit deadline.

In a statement, the organization said it is advocating for a transitional period to allow governments and companies to “finalize their preparation at least until December 2020.”

The council met at a general assembly last week in which its members expressed such concerns, with agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom still up in the air and less than 100 days until the ax drops.

A cliff-edge scenario, in which the E.U. and the U.K. do not come to some kind of trade agreement, could trigger a supply-chain disruption that has been repeatedly described by industry leaders leading up to the deadline as “chaos.” A “no-deal” Brexit, ESC said, would be monetarily devastating to various supply-chain members, especially for those dealing in perishable goods, such as pharmaceutical products and food items, which do not retain their value in the scenario that delivery schedules are delayed.

To read more about the logistics industry’s perspective on Brexit, read our post from last week, 3 logistics companies weigh in on the potential of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

On Dec. 10, British Prime Minister Theresa May delayed the parliamentary vote on Brexit one day before its scheduled date, until the week of Jan. 14. If the deal, which will be debated again the week before Jan. 14, does not gain parliamentary approval, the British logistics community’s fears may be confirmed.

In anticipation of said chaos, shippers have been booking extra space in warehouses and facilities in hopes that they can escape the effects of the potential supply chain disruptions.

“The capacity of warehouses in the U.K. has already been used completely, and it is nearly impossible to rent additional space in warehouses for emergency stock,” the ESC wrote in its statement.

Forwarders, such as U.K.-based Davies Turner and the NX Group, have indeed reported that demand for capacity in U.K.-based logistics facilities is unseasonably high during the interim between the holidays and March – the former company addressing the growing need with capacity expansions.


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