Issue 2 2019 - Freight Business Journal


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disadvantage in the event

of a No Deal Brexit, as goods exported from the province to the Republic of Ireland or the rest of the EU would be subject to tariffs and controls, but nothing similar would be imposed on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from those locations. “This would understandably

make Northern Ireland goods less attractive to overseas buyers and have a knock-on impact on the country’s manufacturers and distributors,” he argued. In

any case, Leheny

continued, the No Deal contingency plans would be unworkable from the point of view of the country’s logistics operators: “Revealing plans like this at the eleventh hour, when business has so little time to prepare or change trading processes,


irresponsible – they would leave Northern Ireland’s economy under serious threat from competition on both sides of the border. No one voted for that.” The plan also raised the possibility that Northern

Brexit agony continues

Meanwhile FTA delivered an open letter to Mrs May calling on Parliament to consider the needs of those tasked with keeping Britain trading, and

understand the costs

and disruption of a No Deal departure from the EU on the UK economy, both in the short- term and the long-run. It said: “With so little time left to prepare for Brexit,


logistics industry – however agile and flexible it is - needs sufficient time to learn,

Ireland could be used as a back door for EU goods to enter the wider UK market, without paying of tariffs or undergoing controls. He said: “This is not a sustainable position in the long term, not least if point of origin has to be proved on all goods shipped from Northern Ireland in the long term. Why should

the logistics sector

have to shoulder this extra administrative and legislative burden? With so little time left, this is an irresponsible dereliction of duty towards business and No Deal should be taken off the negotiating table.”





the necessary operational processes to comply with the announced procedures. The government’s contingency plans are still too fluid to guide any sensible business planning process. With just over two weeks to go until the UK’s proposed departure from the EU, it is worrying that we still have so much to clarify.” As FBJ went to press, MPs

voted on 14 March for the Prime Minister to ask the EU to delay Brexit, possibly for three months until June, although a longer extension was possible. MPs were also due to vote

on a third iteration of Theresa May’s

withdrawal be rejected – deal a the

following week. If this were to


possibility in the view of many political commentators - she would then seek a longer extension to Brexit, she said. However, any extension to

the deadline would depend on the agreement of the EU member states and at the time of writing it was by no means certain that this would be forthcoming. Earlier, the Government

revealed plans to allow most goods into the country tariff-

free in the event of a No Deal Brexit with some exceptions, mainly for agricultural goods and cars – but not car components - along with a few other selected goods. After its departure from the

EU, the UK would no longer be obliged to apply its common external tariff although, as a member of the World Trade Organisation, any tariffs that it did apply would be limited. However, for those goods

that the UK did decide to apply tariffs, they would also apply to imports from the European Union, which are


tariff free under European Single Market rules. Also, if the UK was to allow

substantial volumes of duty- free imports, it could prompt other European countries to intensify customs checks on goods exported from the UK to the EU to prevent unscrupulous traders from using the country as a tariff- free back door to the EU market. Uncertainty over the UK’s regime

tariff after Brexit

has prompted many traders to stockpile EU-produced goods for fear that they may be subject to tariffs after 29

News Roundup

The first successful TIR transport from Europe to China was completed in late February in 12 days - a 7,400km journey from Germany to Khorgos in China – reports the International Road Transport Union (IRU). Carrying 12 tonnes of automobile lubricant in challenging winter conditions, the truck travelled through Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan to China without disruption or customs issues. It follows last year’s first China-to- Europe TIR transport.

Road & Rail

Channel Tunnel operator Getlink said that a new truck shuttle record of 1.7 million trucks contributed to an all-time record financial annual result in 2018, with revenue increasing 5% to €1.079 billion. Work is meanwhile going on to build a veterinary and phytosanitary customs zone and border inspection post for the French authorities in preparation for Brexit, it added.

XPO Logistics has launched its XPO Connect Cloud-based, digital freight marketplace in Europe. It matches supply with demand across the company’s transport system, with virtual tools for buying and selling capacity. XPO Connect was first introduced in North America in 2018. Customers have comprehensive visibility into freight movements, including geo-location, weather conditions, traffic and other factors relevant to shipment status.

March. Another motivation was fear of possible transport paralysis if customs barriers were imposed. This has led to a severe

shortage of warehousing space in some parts of the country. Some commentators have also suggested that it could lead to a slowdown in freight

movements across the Channel after 29 March as consumers work their way through the accumulated stocks. (This issue of FBJ includes a 16-page pull-out supplement on Ireland, including interviews with FTA’s Seamus Leheny and FTA Ireland’s Aiden Flynn.)

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