In April, the UK Parliamentary Transport Committee launched an inquiry to examine the potential effects of Brexit on UK freight operations and assess prepratory steps that operators, their customers and Government would need to take. Robert Keen, the British International Freight Association’s (BIFA) Director General, has urged members to participate, by providing written evidence before the 8 June deadline.
Keen said that while the inquiry will not be considering border and customs arrangements, trade deals or tariffs – as these fall outside the Committee's remit – it will look at the steps required to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit for UK freight, particularly through investment in transport infrastructure and changes to transport policy and regulation.
Keen said that the inquiry is addressing a number of matters.
These include the scale and nature of the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents to UK freight companies and their customers.
Also, the adequacy of steps being taken by freight companies, their representative bodies, their customers and the Government in preparation for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit will be examined.
The investigation will also investigate mode- and/or sector-specific requirements for additional Government funding, or other changes to Government funding plans, particularly in relation to transport infrastructure, to support the needs of freight.
The need for new arrangements for the licensing, regulation and training of operators and workers in the freight sector after Brexit (including the adequacy of measures set out in the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill) is also a topic for the inquiry.
“As a body that represents the companies that are responsible for the logistics that underpins the UK’s visible trade, BIFA has been very vocal on the many issues arising from Brexit that affect the work of our members,” said Keen.
“The Transport Committee inquiry is offering freight operators and their diverse customers, the opportunity to specify their needs in regards to transport infrastructure.
“Though the terms of reference are wide, BIFA will be forthcoming about the issues involved and I hope that our members follow suit.
“I share the opinion of the chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, who said at the launch of the inquiry that whilst we've heard a lot about customs arrangements, border controls, tariffs and trade deals, we haven't heard enough about transport infrastructure, policy and regulation implications affecting freight operators and their customers.
“There remains a great deal of uncertainty for UK freight operators and their customers. The implications of Brexit will vary across freight modes and types of freight.
“We are being given another chance to reiterate our concerns and tell the Government what is required to keep visible trade moving post-Brexit,” he said.