British ports comments on BCC/Port of Dover survey on preparations for post Brexit trading arrangements with the EU

Following the publication of a study today (Monday) by the British Chambers of Commerce and the Port of Dover, which found that many importers and exporters are not preparing for changes to customs procedures after Brexit, the British Ports Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne suggested:

“The research underlines that there is a long way to go and that industry needs more of an indication from Government on what to to prepare for in terms of how our trading environment will look like after Brexit. The implications of leaving the EU Customs Union and Single Market means that goods travelling to and from Europe will be subject to new authorisations and other requirements. Traders will need to undertake new border process which could be most challenging for freight on lorries travelling through our ‘roll-on roll-off’ ferry port gateways, such as Dover. These ports collectively facilitate the majority of the UK’s EU trade.

It should be noted that for most other ports, the customs procedures should be relatively straightforward to achieve however there are still big questions around other frontier inspections such as port health standards which are mandated under EU law and without agreement will be difficult to overcome, particularly in respect of the UK’s exports through the EU.

There will of course be opportunities for IT solutions to customs procedures but all those in the logistics chain will need to asses how they will meet the new arrangements. We have a good working relationship with the Government who will need to look further at what it can do to limit any negative impacts, such as border delays. It will be important trade to and from the EU continues as efficiently as it does today and that there are no additional costs for those in the logistics sector.

We are not a political organisation so take no view on the UK’s membership of EU Customs Union, but we do comment when political decisions are likely to have an impact on port activity. The clock is ticking and many in the ports industry are looking for funding assurances from the Government on any new post Brexit inspection border facilities that may be required.”

The survey, based on the responses of over 835 businesses from across the UK that export or import, found that delays at UK or EU ports would lead to considerable business disruption, particularly for those operating a just-in-time model.

This month the British Ports Association joined other ports bodies in meeting representatives of Michel Barnier’s Taskforce 50 and also separately the European Council. The Association has also recently written to the Prime Minister seeking funding assurances for new post Brexit border inspection facilities.

Notes

1. The results of the BCC and Port of Dover survey can be download by clicking here.
2. The British Ports Association represents the interests of over 100 port members, covering more than 350 ports, terminal operators and port facilities.
3. The UK ports industry plays a key role in the country’s economy as 95% of the UK’s international trade – imports and exports – is carried through British ports.
4. UK ports also handle more than 60 million international and domestic passenger journeys each year.
5. The UK port industry is the second largest in Europe, handling around 500 million tonnes of freight each year.
6. UK ports directly employ around 101,000 people.
7. The British Ports Association recently produced a video which highlights the importance of ports to the UK’s economy. It can be viewed by clicking here.

Contact

Richard Ballantyne | richard.ballantyne@britishports.org.uk | 020 7260 1780