That was the message from Peter Ward (pictured), chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA), delivered to an audience of transport and logistics companies at a meeting on 18 May, co-hosted with the British International Freight Association.
“While many of us were resistant to the idea of Brexit prior to the referendum last June, we are now faced with a brave new world and we will be working closely with government to ensure the voice of the logistics industry is heard,” he said.
He continued: “The future will be shaped not by boffins and think tanks, but by those of us working at the ‘coal face’ who truly understand the impacts of Brexit on supply chains and, crucially, on our export/import industry.”
He told the audience to ensure they engaged with trade associations to “help shape the outcomes of Brexit as well as the future of our industry”.
Frontier declarations currently number around 90 million for rest of world trade, according to UKWA, and this figure could escalate significantly if declarations are required for shipments into and from Europe.
“There’s a real possibility of another 210 million declarations becoming necessary, bringing additional costs to UK plc in excess of £5bn per year, with other expenses such as duties and taxes on top, depending on the trade agreement that is reached,” he said.
However, Ward said significant opportunities were emerging for simplifications on import/export procedures and the opening up of new world markets.
“UKWA released a pre-Brexit positioning statement for HMRC last November, taking advantage of the association’s involvement with the Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) to present members’ concerns and requirements, and calling for positive action to protect those operating in the import/export markets in the UK as we leave the EU,” he added.
“We have maintained an ongoing dialogue with HMRC and all relevant government departments responsible for planning our future trading environment, and are collaborating with like-minded industry organisations such as BIFA to formulate and deliver our case for a successful Brexit for the UK.”