PAC report shows why No Deal is No Option
Wednesday 28 November 2018
No Deal is No Option, according to the business group representing the logistics sector, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), in reaction to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Department for Transport’s implementation of Brexit released today (28 November 2018). This report states there is a significant and growing risk that the Department for Transport will not be ready if the UK leaves EU without a deal next March. But, according to FTA, appropriate project management would have never been enough to mitigate the impact of a No Deal exit on transport: the only way at this stage to prevent major disruption to the UK’s supply chain is for MPs to vote in favour of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement proposal.
Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s Head of European Policy and Brexit commented: “We share some of the Public Accounts Committee’s concerns and have many questions, particularly in relation to traffic management in the event of No Deal and how Operation Brock would work in practice. FTA is concerned many businesses are not aware of the true scope of possible changes, particularly on the Continent, but we are doing everything we can to address these shortcomings and provide answers to our member’s questions. However, the Committee has missed the biggest and most fundamental problem in our view in relation to transport and No Deal. Ultimately, the biggest issue for transport is the issue of market access: the ability for operators to transport goods across the borders. This is not an issue the UK can solve unilaterally. With just four months until the UK leaves the EU, the situation is alarming.
“No amount of contingency planning can increase the limited number of international haulage permits available to both UK and EU hauliers. In the event of a No Deal exit, the number of ECMT permits available would likely only cover 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU. And no air cargo can be transported until between the UK and the EU until the UK is added to the EU ‘Greenlist’ for cargo security. Solving these issues require a negotiated outcome that the UK alone cannot deliver – it needs the full support and active approval of both member states and the European Commission.”
Bastidon continues: “The only way to address the issues a No Deal would present for transport, and ultimately for the entire economy, is for MPs to vote in favour of Mrs May’s proposals. The Withdrawal Agreement allows the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion and avoid the chaotic disruption to the flow of goods between Britain and the rest of the EU that would occur were we to leave without an agreement in place. It provides a Transitional Period until at least the end of 2020, during which negotiations on a new, permanent free trade agreement can take place, that will hopefully remove frictions to trade and protect transport connectivity. This is the reason why – while it’s not perfect from a trade and transport perspective – FTA urges all MPs to vote in favour of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
To help businesses prepare for Brexit – whatever the outcome – FTA is holding an event on 19 December 2018 in Central London, Getting logistics ready for Brexit, and all international hauliers are advised to attend. For more information please visit https://fta.co.uk/events/getting-logistics-ready-for-brexit