'There is still no clarity'- Suffolk transport business hits out at Brexit uncertainty
PUBLISHED: 09:41 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:41 05 April 2019
The uncertainty of Brexit is wreaking havoc on the UK’s logistics industry, according to those trying to plan for the unknown.
Lee Steward, director of Suffolk’s Morrison Freight, believes many companies are struggling to make sense of what may come.
The freight forwarder, based in Great Blakenham, play an integral part in bringing goods from manufacturers to consumers.
However, with a no-deal Brexit still very much a possibility many in the logistics industry have been left unable to prepare.
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“A no-deal departure would be very disruptive and damaging for the UK economy and freight forwarders could play a key role in tidying up the mess left by politicians”, said Mr Steward.
“We need to be making sure UK importers and exporters can continue trading with the rest of Europe as best as possible as soon as we leave the EU to keep international trade afloat.”
Under new traditional simplified procedures (TSP) businesses will be allowed to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border.
Mr Steward said: “The government has been pushing TSP, a UK-only no-deal customs facilitation scheme, instead of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) quality marker, which is an EU-wide scheme, since February.
“Back in 2016, before TSP even existed, we invested heavily in securing AEO status but there has been no clarification on whether we are expected to achieve TSP status as well.
“Luckily for us we are forward-thinking and have successfully applied and obtained this in the last month. However other companies will not be so lucky.
“There’s currently a six-month waiting list for AEO applications.”
Mr Stewart added: “We are a big Suffolk company and have worked hard to make sure we could weather the Brexit storm.
“But if, like other businesses, we are faced with more red tape and box ticking, we could struggle.
“We need more clarification to make sure that everyone concerned is aware of their responsibilities and we need the government to speed up processes to make sure we are all kitted out with the right paperwork.”