The British Ports Association (BPA) has called on the UK government to focus on assurances around cross-border customs arrangements following the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill yesterday (Thursday).
The Bill is designed to convert all existing EU legislation into British law. However, on the day of publication, the head of the British National Audit Office, Amyas Morse, warned that the UK would not have a new customs system in place by the time it left the EU.
BPA chief executive, Richard Ballantyne, noted that this was why the transition of Brexit needed to include guarantees on cross border trade.
“Leaving the Customs Union will almost certainly mean that freight carriers moving between the UK and the EU will be required to provide customs declarations, potentially leading to congestion at ports,” he said. “It is vital that the new customs arrangements are non-disruptive and in place in time to ensure that important parts of the freight and ports industry [are] not faced with a ‘cliff edge’ Brexit scenario.”
Ballantyne added that the BPA would be encouraging government to consider amending legislation which he said could allow for fast-track planning and consenting at ports and would be calling for the repeal of the EU Port Services Regulation post Brexit. This, he observed, would help stimulate economic growth and trade.