Brexit on the brink

Brexit on the brink

Logistics businesses should be ready to activate their no-deal Brexit plans for possible implementation this weekend, the Freight Transport Association is warning.

As the Prime Minister Theresa May heads to Brussels today (Wednesday) to ask EU leaders for a further extension to Article 50, the FTA is reminding logistics businesses that, at this stage, Friday is still the legal date for the UK to leave the European Union. 

With that in mind, the industry group, which represents more than 17,000 logistics firms across the freight sector, is advising all businesses with EU supply chains to activate their no-deal readiness plans for possible implementation this weekend. 

“On Brexit, nothing has been decided,” explains James Hookham, FTA’s Deputy CEO (pictured above), “and with so many complicated and interdependent discussions going on, both in Westminster and Brussels, it would be easy for businesses to get caught up in the rhetoric and be lulled into a sense of complacency. Just because conversations are being had about the possibility of an extension to Article 50, there is no certainty that this will take place. 

 “The trading relationship between the UK and EU is hanging on by its fingernails this week and has the real potential to collapse into a no-deal Brexit if politicians go too close to the edge. FTA is urging all businesses involved in UK–EU trade not to rely on political statements or aspirations in their contingency planning but to recognise the legal landmarks and the real risks to business continuity.

"If agreement on a way forward is not reached by Wednesday evening, then there is a real danger of the cliff edge giving way and taking the entirety of UK-EU trade with it”.  

As Mr Hookham confirmed, a no-deal Brexit is still possible this Friday (12 April) at 11pm UK time, and businesses should continue to prepare for this eventuality: 

 “The risk of no deal is still very much with us, leaving those businesses managing supply chains between the UK and the EU exposed to potential disruption and rising costs, with possibly as little as 48 hours' notice.  If logistics businesses are to keep Britain trading efficiently, their plans for no-deal trading conditions need to be made ready now, for possible implementation this Friday evening.”