Not only could the UK be facing border chaos following their exit from the EU effective January 1 next year, a logistics body has warned of the impact on the cost of goods in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Business group Logistics UK’s CEO David Wells predicts that everyday household items will become more expensive under World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs – some by 30% or more. “This will make the household shopping basket much more expensive, particularly in the early part of 2021 when we rely on imports for much of our fresh food.”
He says the actual cost of moving goods will also increase – if new vehicles, parts and tyres are also subject to tariffs. “This is more than ‘turbulence’, as suggested by Mr Gove last week, and logistics businesses, operating on 2% margins, cannot afford to take on these costs.”
In a statement posted on the organisation’s website, he says another concern for logistics operators will be obtaining access to the EU market if the talks remain unresolved. “Without a deal, UK logistics operators will also be restricted by the number of lorry access permits available to enter the EU. The permit quota available to UK operators will fall short by a factor of four, putting businesses at risk right across the country. We are urging government to keep pressing for a deal with Brussels, to protect not only our industry but the economy as a whole.”
The UK government, in the meantime, has conceded that “for an initial period” there’s a risk of some additional friction at the border if goods are not accompanied by the correct customs and associated documentation.
“We’re therefore activating plans both to minimise the risk of disruption and to mitigate its impact should it occur. These plans have a particular focus on the short straits given the volume of traffic that moves via the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.”
One of its initiatives is to incentivise hauliers to ensure they are ‘border ready’ before setting off for Kent.”