Brexit Begins

Written By EFS

29 March 2017

Article 50 will be handed in today at 12:30 BST by Sir Tim Barrow the British ambassador to the EU, after this formal exit negotiations can start. It will then be upto two years before the process of leaving the EU is complete.

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 Article 50 is in…….what happens next?

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.

What will happen to domestic transport legislation?

Depending on the deal negotiated with the EU, the Government may well decide to revise various aspects of the UK transport legislation which is based on EU directives and regulations. Most likely looking at what would be kept and what would be scrapped. For example, will international hauliers have to learn two set of rules, one for when their trucks are in the UK and another for when they are in the EU?

With regard to tariffs, guarantees and clearance procedures needing to be followed, will relate directly to the access the UK will have to the Single Market.

What about global imports and exports?

As the UK’s current global trade deals have been negotiated by the EU, for EU members, the UK ill now need to negotiate new trade deals with the rest of the world to ensure that it can keep trading under favourable conditions.

Post-Brexit, it will be more important than ever for the UK to trade more with the rest of the world but changes in the container shipping market mean that the biggest and most efficient container ships are calling less frequently at UK ports, meaning goods having to be trans-shipped from mainland Europe.  This means there is a case here for more investment in our ports and the road and rail links that connect them to increase their ability to handle bigger ships and larger volumes of containers.


Those who are currently engaged in international European and global supply chains will feel the effects of any new changes first. However, again much will rely on the conditions for UK access to the Single Market.

Looking forward the UK has well-developed organisations governing the transport sector, and we do have well-developed market liberalisation compared to other member states.

The UK will no doubt continue to be a centre of excellence for shipping services. It’s just how attractive will it be for foreign investors that remains unclear. And unfortunately we won’t know for some time what the real affects will be.


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