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Dealing with ‘No deal‘
The overwhelming rejection of Prime Minister May’s withdrawal agreement in Parliament this week means the chances of a disorderly UK exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019 has increased significantly, and demonstrates the immediate need for business to prepare for ‘no deal’ Brexit.
With just weeks to go before the Article 50 deadline, the Freight Transport Association was urging hauliers to accelerate their ‘no deal’ preparations, stressing that commercial vehicle operators will need ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permits to transport goods to the European Union (EU) and EEA (European Economic Area) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Applications for ECMT permits closed on the 18th January 2019 and it is likely that many commercial operators will be unable to travel in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome.
The number of ECMT permits available to British operators is nowhere near the level required and, even if take up has been 100%, is likely to cover only 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU.
Without frictionless movement between the UK and the EU, the delicate supply chain our economy relies upon will be in jeopardy.
The FTA has prepared a list of emergency ‘mini-deals’ and contingency measures, covering truck permits, aviation and VAT, which they are urging the UK government to prioritise with Brussels urgently to limit the disruption of the ‘no deal’ scenario.
The European Commission has already tabled a proposal whereby UK hauliers could carry out certain transport operations in the EU on the basis of mutual recognition of the Community Licence; however, this arrangement would not cover cabotage or transport between two EU countries and comes with many other restrictions and caveats.
While we expect the combined efforts of the FTA, UK government and their EU counterparts will have some success at keeping haulage moving, we have also been working with our partners and clients to identify alternative transport modes, methods and routes, to provide additional choice and avoid the most obvious access ports, like Dover, which are certain to face unprecedented delays.
To help businesses prepare Unsworth will be holding a Brexit webinar briefing for importers and exporters, on 6th February 2019.
Hosted by Unsworth’s Brexit experts, the webinar will provide a comprehensive guide to no-deal planning across critical transport, including coverage of customs declarations and duties, border checks, and recommended actions for risk mitigation.
Webinar attendees will have opportunities to ask their most pressing questions, as well as learning their individual Brexit risk profile and folllow-up action plan.