Brexit must not delay smooth freight movements

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Abbey Logistics has acquired bulk liquid food transport specialist Armet
Abbey Logistics has acquired bulk liquid food transport specialist Armet

Related tags: United kingdom, International trade, Uk, Eu

Britain needs to keep trading with the rest of the EU and maintain smooth transport and logistics operations as Brexit progresses, with as few delays as possible, the head the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned.

Outlining his concerns to the Home Affairs Select Committee in Parliament last week (January 25), FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham, said avoiding costly delays was crucial – especially if Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision of “tariff-free and frictionless”​ trade could not be achieved.

The FTA has drawn up five priorities for customs and border arrangements to keep Britain trading post-Brexit.

Hookham called for customs systems to be scaled up to cope with the additional 300M declarations expected by 2019 and for shippers and forwarders with no experience of EU customs declarations for the past 24 years to be allowed time to familiarise themselves with the process.

He also wanted other EU countries to put in place reciprocal arrangements to prevent delays at all borders, not just those into and out of the UK; advanced digital customs declarations to be enabled to prevent physical checks at borders; and the process to be phased in with “no cliff edge”​, since he warned that transport operators’ systems were already stretched and would not cope.

‘Impact of port delays’

“Hopefully, there will be ‘frictionless trade’ between the UK and EU, but if there isn't, or a prospect there won't be, then these are the key issues for FTA members,” ​said Hookham. “We already know the impact of port delays – just one hour’s delay adds £15,000 cost to the road haulage industry – so a streamlined process is vital.”

He added: “Shippers, forwarders and transport operators in the UK have been used to open borders in Europe for 24 years so it’s going to take time to adjust, it can’t just change overnight. A smooth transition will ensure that Britain’s trade with other EU countries – both in and out – isn’t compromised.”

FTA is hosting a ‘Keep Britain Trading’ Conference​ at The Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster on Wednesday March 15, where shippers and forwarders will be able to explore the implications of new Customs rules and trade procedures that could be put in place.

Burts’s contract with CEVA

In another development, Burts Potato Chips has awarded a five-year contract for the management of warehousing and distribution of the artisan snack producer’s products across the UK and Ireland to CEVA Logistics.

Under the contract, which became effective last month, CEVA will be responsible for all transport operations and factory warehousing for products as they come off the production line at Burts’s factory in Plymouth on a 24h basis, six days a week in a new facility onsite, which can accommodate 2,000 pallets of snacks.

Additional warehousing will also be provided at CEVA's Wellesbourne multi-user warehouse in Warwickshire, which can cater for an additional requirement of 4,000 pallets. CEVA will be responsible for deliverying 80,000 pallets a year.

And, in a separate move, Liverpool-based Abbey Logistics Group has acquired the complete share capital of bulk liquid food transport specialist Armet Logistics, also based in Liverpool, for an undisclosed sum.

Abbey Logistics completed a management buyout in August 2016 backed by NorthEdge Capital and also started a number of large new contracts. It operates on behalf of some of the UK’s largest food ingredients manufacturers. Armet md Charles Lucy will remain with the business as a director.

Abbey expected the combined businesses, which employ around 700 people in the UK, to generate a turnover in excess of £70M in 2017/18. It has plans to grow revenues to over £100M by 2021, creating a further 300 jobs.

Related topics: Supply Chain, Services

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