Boris Johnson, hit the ground running when he became the UK’s new Prime Minister in July, swiftly announcing that the UK freight industry would receive a £300 million boost should a no-deal Brexit occur, thus ensuring that vital food and medical supplies can continue to be imported and exported.
The risks associated with a no-deal Brexit for the freight industry has been a significant talking point throughout the entirety of negotiations, and is an issue that must be rectified prior to 31st October. An initial deadline of 1st September had been established for freight services to be appropriately arranged, however this has been put back to just one week before Brexit is scheduled.
Whilst this delay allows for more time to arrange procurement of this vital freight, there is very little time remaining to resolve any issues with regards to contracts, which could ultimately impact essential the export of essential medical items such as medicine, blood and transplant organs.
Over the coming weeks companies will be invited to bid for freight work to reduce the pressure on the industry and ensure capacity in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
Many have questioned the viability of such a strategy, however, and have strongly suggested that a plan B should also be considered. With only 14 weeks until the Brexit deadline, fears have been raised that asking for bidders at this late stage was very risky.
These fears are particularly valid following prior Brexit negotiations for the earlier exit date of 29th March, when the government was met with huge criticism after a freight company was awarded a £13.8 million contract, that did not own any ships. Contracts negotiated at this time were subsequently cancelled following the delay of Brexit, which ultimately cost the taxpayer £50 million.
As negotiations continue, the freight industry has already been busy preparing their processes in case of a no-deal Brexit. Here at Grace Overseas, we are keeping our clients up to date with what to expect should this happen. Find out more about freight forwarding following a no-deal Brexit on our blog.
If you have any questions with regards to Brexit and how it will impact your freight forwarding requirements, please contact the Grace Overseas exporting team today.