Brexit impact

Freight transport group calls for PM to prioritise logistics

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The FTA has urged the PM to prioritise the logistics sector in Brexit talks
The FTA has urged the PM to prioritise the logistics sector in Brexit talks

Related tags: Transport, European union

Freight Transport Association (FTA) boss David Wells has urged Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May to prioritise the logistics industry in Brexit talks with the EU. 

The FTA chief executive has asked for her to ensure that goods can move freely between the UK and the rest of the world.

In the letter to PM Theresa May, Wells said the UK economy relied on the ability to import and export goods and it was “essential, therefore, that the UK government secures arrangements which protect our ability to deliver this”.

He has asked to meet the PM “at an early opportunity” ​to discuss how FTA can work with and support the government to deliver the best result for UK business.

Challenges facing the sector

He also sent her a copy of FTA’s 2016 Logistics Report​, an annual document, which provided an overview of the challenges facing the sector.

Published in May, before the Brexit vote, the report warned that the stronger UK economy was leading to increased demand for logistics services.

FTA Brexit priorities

  1. Full access to single market
  2. Tariff-free access for goods
  3. Access to single market for services

It showed that increased online shopping grew phenomenally in 2015, with an average weekly spend of around £816M – an increase of 12.4% since 2014.

But Brexit was set to become a key challenge for FTA’s 15,000 plus members who transport goods by road, rail, sea and air, said the association. 

Hire non-UK drivers

The organisation revealed earlier this month that its international members said that access to the single market and the ability to hire non-UK drivers were a priority.

Its survey revealed that 64% of the FTA’s international members viewed the short-term prospects for their business with pessimism. Only half thought Britain’s exit from the EU would make things worse in the long term.

The lobby group also identified the top 10 topics for the logistics industry linked to Brexit. Those included: access to the single market; border controls; customs arrangements; domestic transport legislation; enforcement of cross border traffic; fuel duty; global markets and investment in transport.

Meanwhile, drivers suffered delays of up to 14 hours on roads leading to the Port of Dover last weekend. Read more in the box below.

 

Dover delays ‘highlight need to look at bigger picture’: FTA

Long delays, some up to 14 hours,  last weekend on roads leading to the Port of Dover, after the implementation of longer security checks required the authorities to “look at all possible scenarios”, ​said the FTA.

The association urged the Department for Transport to consider the feasibility of the proposed lorry area near Stanford being made available for tourist traffic if needed in order to keep the M20 moving.

FTA head of policy for South East England, Natalie Chapman said: “We do need to solve the root causes of congestion and delays at the Port. Given the recent terrorist attack in Nice, FTA fully understands the need for heightened security and additional checks, but it is unforgiveable that the French border force was so under-resourced.

“Dover is vital to the UK economy with up to £120bn worth of trade going through the Port every year. There must be better processes put in place at the Port with extra personnel drafted in at peak times - otherwise there is a risk that Operation Stack may be introduced and we cannot have a repeat performance of last year.”

Meanwhile, Kent Police has warned that disruption could last for weeks, as the summer getaway continues.

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