Despite ongoing resilience planning in the UK, concerns have arisen about the level of preparedness of the wider logistics sector and the possible impact of a ‘no-deal’ on the economy.
British Ports Association raised concerns following the publication of the Government’s Brexit economic impact assessments. This week also saw the UK Prime Minister introduce measures in Parliament allowing for a possible short extension of the Brexit Article 50 deadline.
Commenting on the developments in Westminster and following a meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Ports and Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani to discuss ports’ Brexit preparedness,
“These are unprecedented times and the level of Government emergency planning in our sector is cranking up. We would hope that all parts of Government are working together and sharing information when it comes to resilience planning,” the British Ports Association’ Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne said.
He added that Local Resilience Forums are key organisations in bringing together commercial operators and public agencies to ensure that all are working together and with the same understanding.
In attempts to avoid post-Brexit disruption, Government officials have made a laudable effort to put in place pragmatic processes that will help mitigate disruption in a ‘no-deal’ scenario but the wider impact assessments released by the Government include some stark warnings about the economy.
“If the economy slows down, people and businesses buy, build, manufacture and invest less which typically leads to a slow down in trade. There are also concerns that the wider logistics industry and traders might not be ready and we welcome moves to allow them to prepare,” according to Ballantyne.
The Government’s Brexit impact assessment estimates that the UK economy would be between 6.3% to 9% smaller, with significant variation across the UK, in the long term in a no-deal scenario.
Regarding a Drewry study published on the matter, Ballantyne said that the study shows there is certainly resilience in UK-EU short sea market “but it highlights that while many of the Government’s mitigation measures should help Roll-on Roll-off ferry traffic flow, some of these customs arrangements and systems are untested.”
“It also demonstrates that potential traffic peaks could need to be managed underlining the importance of the regional resilience planning exercises.”