A Brexit Forum for leading fashion, automotive and other retailers and manufacturers has been told that, unlikely as it sounds now, the Irish border could be the best route into the EU following a no-deal or hard Brexit.
David Jinks MILT, the Head of Consumer Research for the international courier comparison site ParcelHero, told delegates that the Irish border may be the hardest Brexit hurdle currently, but the determination of both the UK and EU to ensure a resolution to the problem, means that Ireland may well present the easiest route for couriers and hauliers into the EU following Brexit.
David was one of a line-up of 17 experts discussing Brexit potential workarounds and solutions with delegates at the CML (Core Management Logistics) Brexit Forum. Explained David: ‘One way or another the Irish border question will be resolved, whether that means using the infamous ‘stop gap’ of continued EU membership, or new technology; and that means Ireland will offer perhaps the only friction-free border into the EU for UK businesses’ following a hard Brexit.
‘Ireland could become the best gateway into Europe as traditional routes such as Dover-Calais become choked with Custom’s checks and red tape. Following a no-deal Brexit the M20 could become a lorry park.’
David revealed the Republic of Ireland’s couriers and logistics companies are already developing new ways to the EU avoiding traditional routes via the UK. Said David: ‘This extra capacity could be utilised by UK companies whose goods have already been cleared, friction-free, at the Irish border. Amongst the new services being introduced, CLdN has launched two mega vessels on new direct routes between Dublin and Zeebrugge, Belgium, and Rotterdam; Irish Continental Group has increased weekly freight capacity between Dublin and Cherbourg, and Brittany ferries has launched a new service between Cork and Santander, Spain.’
Joining David on the panel was a Brexit Risk Consultant, VAT Specialists, Economists, and a Trade Finance representative. All delegates were also given the opportunity to network and exchange details during the conference.
Topics included: ‘How will the industry reduce inevitable delays with processing additional customs formalities?’ and ‘how would we be able to reduce the ‘double duty’ effect on goods that we buy from Europe?’
Kerry Delaney, Commercial Director at CML, commented: “With a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we wanted to ensure our customers are fully educated and informed on the impact that this may have on the industry. Our panel of experts were excellent and were able to shed a lot of light on various different topics surrounding Brexit. We’d also like to reassure all of our customers that CML will continue to provide a first-class service throughout the process, regardless of any potential implications.”
Global Logistics Manager at CML, Paul Bambrough-Smith, organised the day and received much praise for his efforts.