Monday, September 21, 2020

Meeting Between Logistics Experts and Government on Brexit Terms a 'Wash Out'

Industry is No Further Forward in Educating Politicians on the Potential Perils Ahead
Shipping News Feature

UK – It would seem that the pessimism expressed by some of the signatories to the recent letter addressed to Michael Gove when requesting an urgent meeting over government preparations for Brexit were, sadly, not misplaced. The letter, from a range of logistics specialist associations and operations requested a meeting to discuss the problems received a rapid response, but did nothing to assuage concerns.

The letter was initiated by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and countersigned by most of the industry’s meaningful stakeholders, however even before it reached Mr Gove’s office several had expressed privately that they felt the government really had no concept of what failure to secure a deal with the EU will actually mean.

Mr Gove, as a minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster responded promptly and the meeting duly went ahead. However it was not what the trade specialists, comprising logistics and haulage interests alongside freight forwarders, warehouse keepers, removals, vehicle rental and cold chain industry representatives had foreseen. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett takes up the story:

“As we understood it the intention was for a small meeting with the key players to discuss just how government intends to implement the many processes and procedures needed to ensure that border crossings are as seamless and as pain-free as possible. That was not the case. The meeting comprised a wide range of stakeholders, all of whom have their own concerns and agendas.

“With only 75 working days of the transition period left we shall continue to work relentlessly on behalf of our members and the rest of the haulage logistics industry for whom the success of these negotiations have become a matter of make or break. Government officials are political experts; we are experts in road freight, logistics and keeping the supply chain moving.

“I was hopeful that [the] meeting would result in a mutually effective co-operation. Sadly, this hasn’t happened and there is still no clarity regarding the questions that we have raised. Although I don’t think we’re quite back at square one, we’re certainly not much further ahead.”