Speaking at a special meeting co-hosted by leading logistics industry trade associations UKWA (the United Kingdom Warehousing Association) and BIFA (the British International Freight Association), UKWA CEO Peter Ward outlined the huge opportunities that lie ahead for the logistics industry when the new government moves forward with its plans for Brexit.
While highlighting the potentially exorbitant costs associated with administering additional frontier declarations in the event of withdrawal from the customs union, his overarching message was positive.
“While many of us were resistant to the idea of Brexit prior to the referendum last June, we are now faced with a brave new world and we will be working closely with government to ensure the voice of the logistics industry is heard,” he said.
He continued: “The future will be shaped not by boffins and think tanks, but by those of us working at the ‘coal face’ who truly understand the impacts of Brexit on supply chains and crucially, on our export/import industry.
“Our message to UKWA and BIFA members and to the wider logistics community is to engage with your association and seize this unique opportunity to help shape the outcomes of Brexit as well as the future of our industry.”
Ward suggested that current levels of around 90 million frontier declarations for rest of world trade may escalate to 300 million should frontier declarations be required for shipments to and from Europe.
“There’s a real possibility of another 210 million declarations becoming necessary, bringing additional costs to UK plc in excess of £5bn per year, with other expenses such as duties and taxes on top, depending on the trade agreement that is reached,” he said.
However, he added that significant opportunities were emerging for simplifications on import/export procedures and the opening up of new world markets.
UKWA and BIFA’s joint event provided an update on issues likely to affect members in the run up to Brexit, including customs and excise changes, as well as insights into risk management and future trends in the commercial property market.
“UKWA released a pre-Brexit positioning statement for HMRC last November, taking advantage of the association’s involvement with the Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) to present members’ concerns and requirements, and calling for positive action to protect those operating in the import/export markets in the UK as we leave the EU,” said Ward.
He added: “We have maintained an ongoing dialogue with HMRC and all relevant government departments responsible for planning our future trading environment, and are collaborating with like-minded industry organisations such as BIFA to formulate and deliver our case for a successful Brexit for the UK.”