Brexit: uncertainty drives the industry round the bend
Are the Brexit negotiations heading in the right direction? The short answer is ‘not yet’. Clarity is needed. The Road Haulage Association,who represent nearly half of the UK’s lorry fleet (which is around half a million strong), go as far as to say that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would mean no jobs and no food.
This is a shocking statement and designed, we imagine, to put pressure on the government to get deal, but their argument is convincing.
At the moment of course, the border between the UK and Europe is seamless. Lorries are not checked at the port in either direction. Earlier this year, Chris Grayling the Transport Minister gave a strong indication that checks would not be imposed coming in to Dover, but what about going out?
According to the RHA, if all lorries travelling between the UK and Europe face customs control, the queues would be enormous. Days or even weeks. Over a third of food consumed in the UK comes from Europe. Why would operators want to come here if they couldn’t easily get back? Prices would sky rocket.
Supply Chain Digital raises a similar concern but about fuel, stating that more than a quarter of Britain’s petroleum products pass through the EU, again making the likelihood of these goods becoming more expensive.
As with most things Brexit related, clarity is in short supply. Amongst the most concerning element for international hauliers is the fact that they don’t know what is going to happen – so they are unable to plan for the future.
The Freight Transport Association concur that a no deal would be, in the words of Sarah Laouadi, FTA European Policy Manager “disastrous for logistics”.
Is there a bright side?
In times of high pressure, when your back is against the wall, this can be a catalyst for innovation. According to Supply Change Digital some industry leaders are suggesting that Brexit will force manufacturers and logistics companies to spend more money on research and development for example in the arena of alternative fuels: perhaps financial pressure will drive this forward more quickly than the environmental argument.
Barclays Bank suggest that uncertainty fuelled by Brexit has encouraged businesses to assess the possible benefits of artificial intelligence and mobile technology to enable logistics and haulage firms to become more efficient in terms of delivery routes and reducing the number of trips a lorry does whilst empty.
The only thing that seems certain to us at the moment is that there is a lot that still remains uncertain. To enquire about how Masters can help you with anything related to warehousing or logistics, please call us today on: 01353 648222 or email us on [email protected]