Operation Yellowhammer: Industry reaction

Operation Yellowhammer: Industry reaction

The freight and logistics sector has been reacting to the publication of the Government's no-deal Brexit contingency plans under Operation Yellowhammer.

The document, which is almost identical to the leaked document published by the Sunday Times recently, predicts that business won’t be ready for a no-deal Brexit and trucks bound for the continent could be stuck in queues for up to two and a half days. 

The Road Haulage Association said the document “confirms its worst fears” about the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the supply chain.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said that the worst case planning assumptions come as no surprise and called on the Government to do everything to prepare business for the UK’s exit.

“This is what we’ve been talking about for the last three years; we’ve been consistently warning that no deal will mean disruption at the border and across the supply chain as firms get to grips with unfamiliar processes.

“An increase in energy from the Government has been welcome but it needs to throw all its weight into minimising the impact leaving the EU without a deal will have on the economy.”

FTA, which represents more than 18,000 businesses in the logistics sector, said the Yellowhammer document shows that there is still much that could go wrong and still much to be done to keep Britain trading effectively. 

In a press statement issued on Thursday, FTA said: “Many of the details may seem trivial but are actually crucial to the successful protection and continuation of the UK's supply chain, and industry needs key decisions to be made urgently to keep imports and exports moving efficiently. Businesses can only prepare for and implement new processes once and still need confirmation of what they are to adopt in the way of new practices, while still maintaining existing trading relationships and keeping costs down.

“We are still very concerned by the risk that fuel supplies could be impacted, considering this would affect the movement of goods both domestically and internationally - at no point in the past three years of negotiations has any indication of this nature been made to us or our 18,000 members by government.

“The logistics industry is at the heart of the UK's economy, impacting every individual and business.  The report shows that there is still significant detail to be clarified if Britain is to keep trading efficiently after Brexit. Leaving the logistics industry still waiting for detail on trading arrangements after Brexit is to hinder the very businesses that will be relied upon to keep Britain trading through a costly and difficult no-deal Brexit.” 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the document only showed what might happen if nothing was done. Furthermore, there were lots of measures being taken to reduce the risks and the Chancellor has increased no-deal spending. The planning file was a "living document" and an updated version would be published in due course, he told the BBC.