Friday, June 24, 2016

BREXIT - How Will it Affect Shipping and Logistics? Is it to be a Freight Forwarders Nightmare?

After All the Hype, Uncertainty Remains for the Foreseeable Future
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – So there we have it, the votes are cast and Britain is to leave the EU after 41 years of ever increasing cooperation. Whilst the vote was a very close one, the momentous decision of the British people is bound to have ramifications. Brave New World certainly, but in which sense? The cynicism of Huxley or the misguided musings of Miranda in Shakespeare’s Tempest. Certainly freight forwarders across the continent will be in the front line and anxiously watching how this decision impinges on the logistics sector.

Road haulage will also be keen to have questions answered, British operators mostly run under EU rules these days overseen by the DVSA and enforced by the Transport Commissioners, it would seem ludicrous to entirely change this practice to the alternative Domestic Tariff which others still operate on, how will we cope with foreign drivers arriving and needing to change their hours of work accordingly? The answer is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – probably the way to solve the problems many of the Remain naysayers foretell.

Will it mean a return to T Forms, or worse still the dreaded carnet’s for export goods? will we be seeing different duty rates for import cargo from each individual country? The simple answer is of course that nobody actually knows, one trusts that common sense will rule and agreements, largely based on existing practices will be negotiated, not with individual countries but with the EU as a trading bloc.

What is certain however is the fall in the Pound against the Euro, something which suddenly makes British exports far more attractive than they were previously (and of course imports from just about anywhere far more expensive). That foreign holiday will be a lot dearer this year if you are from the UK but undoubtedly tourists will arrive in ever greater numbers.

Britain now will presumably not be party to the TTIP talks with the US and many will see this as a good thing but individual deals will need to be done regarding mutual trade both there, and in every non EU country (unless the UK manages to ‘piggy back’ on EU negotiations and mirror those terms).

Back in February the UK government published a document on its proposed course of action in case of this result, now we shall see how it plays out. When will the hitherto untested Article 50, which starts the 2 year leaving process, be triggered? There are many factors for the powers that be (perhaps temporarily) to contemplate, the French elections for example. This decision may feed the rumbling discontent with the EU which many other members feel, perhaps bringing about more referenda. As we say, it’s over, for Britain the deal is done, now the divorce lawyers have started to arrive let us hope for an amicable settlement.