The EU should not underestimate the huge challenges member states face when preparing their own borders for Brexit, as well as the risk of long delays and disruption at European ferry ports.
This was the warning from the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) deputy chief executive James Hookham, who recently gave evidence to the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism, as part of a public hearing on the impact of Brexit on land transport into and out of the UK.
Mr Hookham advised the committee that the EU27 should be equally as keen to continue trading with the UK, saying: “It is important that the need to maintain successful trade relationships is recognised as an equal risk for both parties. This is not just a UK problem.”
With the UK out of the EU, the number of customs declarations handled by the British customs system would more than quadruple from 90 million a year to around 390 million.
Mr Hookham added: “The scale of this [trade] is truly enormous and it is important that all stakeholders comprehend what we are really talking about.
“Some 185,000 enterprises will be required to make customs declarations and other border checks after Brexit, for the first time in the UK; eighty per cent of the vehicles that cross the English Channel between France and England are EU-registered vehicles.”
The FTA is seeking clarification from the EU on three key areas that will critically affect trade after Brexit.
These are customs arrangements and facilities, the need for vehicle quotas, and the recognition of driver qualifications.
Mr Hookham went on to say: “In the meantime, we must make sure that vehicles can continue to cross the border and that there is mutual recognition of driver qualifications and licences.
“There is a need for not just the UK government, but for the other EU27 governments to step forward and to act.”
FTA represents nearly 17,000 members operating over 220,000 heavy goods vehicles, equating to half the UK’s HGV fleet.
Posted on 14th December 2017
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