CILT provided evidence at this morning’s EU Internal Market Sub-Committee. Alan Braithwaite FCILT, Chairman, Freight and Logistics Policy Group, CILT, represented the Institute and its Public Policy Committee, and was joined by Andrew Meaney, Head of Transport, Oxera and Dr Matthew Niblett, Director, Independent Transport Commission.
The hearing of the House of Lords European Union Committee on Thursday 13th September explored the opportunities and challenges in transport of leaving the EU in areas such as market access, standards and cooperation.
In June, the Institute submitted a written evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into the effects of Brexit on UK freight operations which was shared with the Lords. As a result the Institute was called to appear to provide verbal evidence.
Over the course of the session, Alan stressed:
- The importance of border management processes and systems to ensure frictionless borders are a priority
- The pressing need for many more companies to attain Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status throughout the supply chain
- The potential for disruption not just from customs processes but also many other areas such as sanitary and phytosanitary conditions is serious and requires an integrated border service delivery
- The very large number of non-UK registered trucks that are operating within the UK at any one time and our dependence of them
Braithwaite said: “CILT like to think we coined the term frictionless very early on in this process. The idea of frictionless borders has become our obsession since the referendum as our sectors continue to face major uncertainties with Brexit, the idea remains crucial.”
Nearly 40% of the goods moved within the UK are either imported or exported. If these supply chains are disrupted, shippers will look for alternative routings and sources based on economic or service conditions. Mr Braithwaite said: “16,000 to -20,000 foreign trucks operate within the UK at any one time. One of our expectations is that if there are significant delays on the short sea crossing that traffic will switch to unaccompanied modes.
“Perishable goods flow is a concern, and it is important that we understand and appreciate that somewhere between 30-50% of the goods movements through Dover are food. If there is delays to the movement of food, for example, this poses a very significant threat to Dover, the Channel Tunnel and the wider supply chain.”
He continued: “We have to stress to all operators the importance of attaining AEO accreditation. At the moment only 600 companies in the UK are AEO accredited compared to the 5,000 German operators. We simply are not ready. We are concerned that British industry hasn’t grasped how essential this precondition is for frictionless trade and we ask DfT and other government sectors to promote this.”
On the possibility of a No Deal negotiation, Alan commented: “Put simply, no deal would create uncertainty, in turn this breed’s behaviour which breeds enforcement of legislation which breeds delays.”
CILT has been engaged in external discussions over last two years with various Government sectors, including the DfT, DExEU, the Treasury, HMRC and the Border Force Co-ordination Group. The Institute’s Public Policy Committee has hosted four roundtable discussions with government officials and logistics and freight operators and has been pleased with the level of engagement we have seen from these.