The British Ports Association has published a new strategic report, which calls on the UK Government to deliver on the Prime Minister’s pledge of ‘frictionless’ trade after Brexit.
Following an agreement between UK and EU negotiators on the terms of a transition deal and ahead of the EU Council meeting later this week, the ports are calling for a pragmatic deal with the EU on both customs and regulatory recognition that allows both British and European businesses to get their goods across borders as quickly as possible.
Although the report, titled ‘A Brexit Dividend’, outlines the potential opportunities for ports, the Association has warned that the direction of travel is increasingly heading towards a situation where border arrangements at ports will reflect a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.
“A potential Brexit free trade deal will be welcomed by many in the sector but this is unlikely to cover border processes. In terms of border operations the impact of leaving the Customs Union and Single Market is now fast becoming a ‘no deal’ scenario for ports. Indeed this means that new border controls on UK-EU trade are likely to be unavoidable and that delays at certain ports and important trade gateways are a distinct possibility,” Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said.
The report sets out potential opportunities for ports post-Brexit on free ports, port connectivity, planning, the regulatory regime, and fisheries. The report sets out the industry’s position on other potential opportunities in a number of areas such as free ports, port connectivity, planning, the regulatory regime, and fisheries.
“This report shows that there are substantial potential benefits to leaving the EU for our ports and wider maritime sector. However, in order to realise these benefits, we first need to get a deal that prevents delays and disruption at our ports,” David Dingle CBE, Maritime UK Chairman, said.
“It is in both the UK and EU’s interest to get that deal. Failure to get that frictionless deal will not only see delays and disruption at ports like Dover, Holyhead and Portsmouth, but also in the EU at ports like Zeebrugge, Calais and Dublin.”