Logistics industry welcomes membership of Common Transit Convention

The freight industry has welcomed news that the UK will remain in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after Brexit, which should help simplify cross-border trade for UK businesses exporting their goods.

The UK is currently a member of the CTC while it remains in the EU, and has negotiated membership in its own right after Brexit. This would apply to any new trading relationship with the EU or in the event of a no deal.

Membership of the CTC, and its supplementary convention the Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in the Trade of Goods, reduces administrative burdens on traders by removing the need for additional import/export declarations when transiting across multiple customs territories. 

It also provides cashflow benefits by allowing the movement of goods across a customs territory without the payment of duties until the final destination – countries who are not in the Convention would have to pay each time their goods crossed a border.

The CTC is currently used for moving goods between the EU member states, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) as well as Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride said: “We are a great trading nation and our goods are in demand all over the world.

“That’s why we are committed to ensuring that trade can continue to flow with as little friction as possible when we leave the EU. Membership of the convention will support traders both under a new trade agreement with the EU, or in the unlikely event of no deal.

“This gives businesses the continuity and certainty they need to plan for the future,” she added.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA), which had been pressing Government to speed up CTC accession process for some time, said the invite was “great news” for the country’s logistics industry.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA’s Head of European Policy & Brexit, said: “This will be particularly attractive for UK businesses exporting into the EU. While it would not remove the need for border checks of a regulatory nature (such as sanitary & phytosanitary checks on agri-food products), the CTC has the potential to reduce checks of a fiscal nature upon entry into the EU. What is now vital for UK business is to ensure that all necessary arrangements for use of the convention are made so that, from 30 March 2019, traders may fully benefit from the facilities offered by the CTC.”

Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTA's sister organisation Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI), added: “The CTC would significantly reduce the amount of red tape and any delays at the borders for Irish goods transported to the continent through the EU land-bridge.  While the CTC does not deal with regulatory checks – such as sanitary and phytosanitary checks on agri-food products – or with the ability for road hauliers to operate in the UK, it is a welcome step in the right direction, and something that FTAI has been campaigning for for quite some time."

He added: "What is now imperative is that the UK government ensures that all necessary arrangements for use of the convention are made so that, from 30 March 2019, Irish businesses can continue to transit their goods to and from the continent with minimal delays at the borders with the UK.”