British Ports Association Statement on Operation Yellowhammer Leak

British Ports Association (BPA) responds to reports in UK media on Government assessment of no-deal Brexit.

The BPA has consistently said that a no-deal scenario will cause disruption at some ports and that the best Brexit scenario is a comprehensive deal that supports frictionless trade.

This has been the position of the previous Government and we understand it remains the preference of the current administration. UK ports have been preparing for a range of scenarios, although it is clear that preparation for a no-deal is about mitigating, not avoiding disruption.

It is critical that in any scenario, the Government prioritises the flow of port traffic so that it remains fluid and does not introduce any additional checks at the frontier. If necessary, any new checks at Ro-Ro ports should be facilitated inland

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said:

“British ports have been working closely with the UK Government for the last three years on a range of Brexit scenarios. The industry is as ready as it can be for a ‘no deal’ although it is clear that this is about mitigating disruption at certain ports, not avoiding it.

Ports are of course though only one part, albeit an important component, of the logistics chain. We rely on others – freight forwarders, hauliers, agents, Government agencies – to also be ready for what is an unprecedented level of change potentially coming in with little or no notice.

Reviewing the leaked Government papers there remain questions for operators using both accompanied and unaccompanied Roll-on Roll-off routes but the Government has designed a number of mitigating measures which will help importers temporarily, in the short term. Operators will need time to plan for any longer term solution so some kind of transitional period will be need for any type of Brexit that deviates from present arrangements. The Government are alive to the issues and we met several Cabinet Ministers recently with other freight industry representatives to express these concerns.

A ‘no deal’ would certainly appear to be more of a possibility now and it is prudent to plan for this potential outcome. However we remain firmly of the view that a deal that supports frictionless, free-flowing frontiers is the best outcome and as far as we are aware this is still the Government’s aim. We still hope that the UK and EU can come to a sensible arrangement ahead of the deadline.”

Further information and briefing

The British Ports Association is available to provide more in-depth or one to one briefing for journalists on general or technical Brexit border issues. Please email mark.simmonds@britishports.org.uk or call 0207 260 1780 to discuss.