Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal


Keeping the country on the move

That the country didn’t entirely grind to a halt as a result of the many crises of the past 12 months was due in large part to those unsung heroes, the ferry operators.

hauliers to use the Check an HGV system. Veitch added that one of

Brexit did not lead to long lines of trucks at the Channel ports, due mainly to “a monumental effort” by the freight industry to keep things moving, Logistics UK told an online session of the Coastlink short sea shipping conference on 22 April. However, the full picture of

its effect on the UK’s trade with Europe had yet to emerge, said Alex Veitch, the organisation’s general manager for public policy. Examining the latest figures from the Government’s Office

for National Statistics

(ONS), he said it was encouraging that there had been a strong recovery in British exports in February following January’s sharp decline. However, more data would be needed before it

could be said that the recovery would be permanent and long- lasting, he added. Figures from Logistics UK’s

sister organisation in Ireland, FTAI, meanwhile pointed to a doubling of direct ferry services from Ireland to Continental Europe to avoid potential blockages on the UK landbridge route. Again,

though, it was

too early to say if the change would be permanent. However, Ireland’s recent experience could be a pointer to how the wider ro ro market in the British Isles might perform. While the trade seems

to have coped reasonably well with the re-imposition of customs controls on UK exports to the EU, the situation

“could start to get sticky again” in January next year when the UK is due to introduce full import clearances from the EU, as well as Safety and Security declarations, which could pose a headache for exporters to the UK. Later this year, Sanitary and Phytosanitary checks will also begin to be introduced, which could pose further headaches for traders. Veitch said: “The full

economic consequences of Brexit are too soon to call.” However, just about

all the

new controls will be in place by January-March next year. Logistics UK was however

encouraged by the recent removal of the Kent Access Permit and

the need for

the perhaps unexpected consequences of Brexit had been “a really fresh and invigorated customs department” which was now giving helpful advice and briefings to traders on media such as Youtube. HMRC was also working very hard at helping companies become trusted traders and generally moving as much customs compliance as possible upstream away from the physical border. Also addressing Coastlink, Pratt,

Alan chief executive

of liner agency John Good Shipping said he believed that there had been a marked shift on the Channel from accompanied to unaccompanied trailers, with a 20% increase in such traffic at Tilbury alone. However, there could eventually be some knock-on effects including a possible shortage of short-sea

container capacity, although rates so far had remained relatively stable, in contrast with deepsea container shipping. There could also be delays with inland haulage. Nevertheless, he concluded,

a move to short-sea solutions “could

drive reliability into

supply chains”. Another shift in the ro ro

market, identified by Peel Ports commercial director Stephen Carr, was from the central to the northern corridor on the Irish Sea. The latter now accounted for 60% of the Irish Sea trade compared

with 47% before

Brexit. As for the total Irish Sea

market, while at face value there had been a significant fall after Brexit, some of this was due to pre-Brexit stockpiling with only a small amount being lost to the Ireland/Continent direct routes, notwithstanding the large increase in the number of services on the latter.

However, he added that

anecdotal evidence suggested that there had also been something of a shift away from Dover and the Short Straits to longer crossings between England and the Continent with new routes being operated between Sheerness and Calais, between Immingham and Cuxhaven and between Iberia and Liverpool – all of them catering for unaccompanied rather than accompanied trailers. He added that while the central corridor routes between GB and Ireland had seen a fall- off in favour of the Northern Irish routes, this was much more marked for accompanied rather than unaccompanied traffic, with the former falling by half, the latter by only about a third. It remained to be seen

whether the changes were only a short term phenomenon or a permanent change in the market.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40