Logistics industry raises Brexit concerns with government
Friday 22 January 2021
Three weeks after the end of the Brexit transition period, Logistics UK has today (22 January 2021) held a meeting with key members of government to raise issues affecting those moving goods and services between GB and Northern Ireland.
The business group’s Chief Executive David Wells met Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (CDL), Michael Gove MP, NI Secretary Brandon Lewis MP and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP to discuss the problems being faced by businesses trying to move freight across the Irish Sea. As he explains, Mr Wells and Northern Ireland policy manager Seamus Leheny proposed a number of solutions from industry which could alleviate the issues being experienced:
“With only five days between the confirmation of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU and the end of the Transition Period, it was always likely that businesses would be testing systems in real time from 1 January 2021. This process has highlighted issues with several areas of trade between GB and NI, including problems with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Checks on food consignments, a lack of capacity among customs intermediaries and a significant imbalance between shipments to and from NI which is having a significant effect on NI hauliers.
“Mr Gove acknowledged the problems which logistics operators are experiencing and promised to consider the solutions we proposed. These included grant support to hauliers affected by increased empty running, a Trusted Trader Scheme to facilitate swifter SPS checks and an advice line targeting SMEs to assist them in their preparations for moving goods. In addition, Logistics UK suggested that the proposed solution to the groupage issues experienced by those moving goods to NI be fully resourced with clear guidance for industry as soon as possible.
“The conversations were constructive, and we will be maintaining regular contact with CDL’s office to ensure progress can be made to relieve some of the issues which have been experienced by our members.”
Logistics UK (formerly FTA) is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.