Brexit could create some serious problems for the food supplies due to certain customs issues that could hamper the smooth supply chains in existence. The RHA (Road Haulage Association) has warned the Government that unless proper custom controls are negotiated in the Brexit Conferences there will be major problems for the UK food supply.
The recent vegetable rations have exemplified the danger faced with food supplies of lettuce and this could be just the beginning of the situation on the horizon.
Concern over the EU Road Haulage System
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive for RHA, commented on the situation mentioning over 30% of all food consumed in the UK is arriving by lorry from the EU. This process is seamless at the moment. It is as easy to coordinate deliveries between Milan and Manchester as it is between Manchester and Leeds, at least as far as dealing with customs officials is concerned. However, after the Brexit changes all this, things could grind to a halt in a bad way.
The biggest fear the RHA is expressing is that this could mean huge queues of lorries building up at ports with many less than serious employees responsible for the backlog while all the fresh food rot in the meantime.
Furthermore, the recent statements made by the government is not at all of reassurance. The HMRC is known for world-class services, nevertheless, there is no system for EU road haulage currently. It is important to anticipate the new challenges this can pose. The government must be able to ensure that the HMRC has all the resources to handle the task at hand.
In conclusion, Richard Burnett stated that the RHA intends to make the commitments to er trade ‘easy and friction-less’. However, the customs procedures which are currently applied to air freight and containers cannot be transferred to the millions of trucks that pass through Dover each year. These important journeys carrying important components and products not only carry 30% of the food we consume but also support thousands of jobs
Actions Recommended by the FTA
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has requested a few actions to be taken by the Government in the next Spring Budget Submission.
- Ensure that the outcome of the Brexit Negotiations works to the best interest of the UK economy by mitigating the strain on businesses that move goods internationally.
- Stimulate the growth and protection of UK Economy and economical activities by reducing the costs of fuel duty by three pence per litre, reinstating the use of used cooking oil for commercial vehicle fuel and continuing to support efforts to increase air quality and reach target quality readings.
- Address the current skills shortage by making sure the Apprenticeship Levy and the included training fund is well suited to the need of the business and with the creation of a policy and funding for improved roadside facilities.
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