What does Brexit mean for Freight Shipping? – Part 1

Written By EFS

14 October 2016

Months after the decision to leave the EU, many UK businesses are still asking one single, monumental, question – how will this affect my business?

The reality is that there is still no certainty as to how this ‘Leave’ decision will affect the economy or the market. Being honest this leaves us as a nation in relatively unknown territory!


While we unfortunately don’t have all of the answers, we do know that Brexit will of course have an effect on nearly every business. And following a Brexit strategy developed by the FTA, several areas have been highlighted which are crucial for the Freight Trade Industry.

So the vote is in…….what happens next?

In short, nothing changes; well at least not until freight transport operations exit negotiations have been completed. The Government will first need to give official notice to leave the EU (a notification under Article 50), before formal exit negotiations can start. It will then be two years before the process of leaving the EU is complete.

The negotiation process will be incredibly complex, as you can imagine! Which is why organisations such as the FTA will be need to take the lead for logistics and make sure the Government keeps the UK’s supply chains efficient and competitive, whatever deal is agreed.

What’s the value of the UK’s trade with Europe?

Standing nearly at £360 billion, the EU is a major trading partner of the UK.

  • 47% of the goods and services we exported in 2015 went to the EU
  • 54% of our imports came from the EU

And over the last 10 years, exports of goods to the EU from the UK has risen 9.2%, from £123 billion in 2005 to £134.4 billion in 2015!

What are the options for Britain’s future trading relationship with Europe?

  • Norway – Are within the European Economic Area (EEA) with almost full access to the Single Market (and accepting free movement of people). It enacts all EU laws as a condition of its access to the Single Market, and contributes to the EU budget.
  • Switzerland – Currently have bi-lateral deals with the EU. Switzerland implements many EU rules and contributes to EU funding programmes.
  • Turkey – They are outside the EEA but in a Customs Union with the EU since 1995. Turkey implements the EU industrial standards.
  • Canada – Currently a bi-lateral trade deal is being negotiated with the EU (CETA – EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).
  • Russia – Have a new EU-Russia agreement is in preparation, building on WTO (World Trade Organization) rules.

What will the new trade deal look like? This current predicament is leaving a lot of companies anxious for what could lie ahead for future trade opportunities. However, we do have some examples of pre-existing trade deals between the EU and non EU members. Though it is likely the UK will negotiate its own.

In the next blog article we will look at further at legislation changes, Global imports and Export and more on the future of the shipping industry post Brexit!

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