Months after Brexit, there is still a lot to figure out regarding transport logistics within the UK and with EU states. We examine the implications for transportation and logistics service providers. Read on to learn about the
Important Conditions for Successful Trade Flow
During a roundtable with representatives from the EU and the UK governments in February 2021, Seamus Leheny, policy manager for Northern Ireland at the leading trade group Logistics UK, expressed the sector’s concerns about the protocol’s implementation, stating that the right processes need to be in place for the protocol to be successful in enabling trade flows. Logistics UK established three important conditions.
- The organisation would like to see the creation of a “retail mobility scheme” to govern the transportation of agri-food commodities, plants, and animals between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. To avoid excessive administration and delays, the checks on these commodities, known as sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks, must be commensurate to the low health risks that these items present.
- The sector requires the implementation of a Trusted Trader designation for package operators in order to decrease the costly administrative hurdles placed on business-to-consumer consignments.
- To enable the successful execution of these programmes, the grace periods must be extended sufficiently for longer term simplifications to be agreed upon and put into practice.
Some of the transition requirements phased out at the end of March. As a result, the UK government requested an extension until 2023.
The CE / UKCA Marking Regimes
The UK government extended the deadline for businesses to apply new conformity assessment markings to products placed on the market in the UK by a year. For products placed on the UK market, the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) label will replace the ‘CE’ mark (needed in the EU).
The UKCA mark went into effect on 1 January 2021. However, to give businesses more time to comply with the new regulations, a transitional period was granted in which the CE mark could still be used on new items until 1 January 2022. In August 2021, the government officially confirmed that the transition period would be extended until 1 January 2023.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced the extension stating that the continued effect of the epidemic was the primary driver. However, the growing demand following Brexit resulted in major backlogs and delays, which undoubtedly played a role in BEIS decision-making.
It should be noted that this change has no bearing on broader (Brexit-related) product compliance issues, such as the new ‘importer’ responsibilities that went into effect this year (from 1 January 2021).
What Is the New Route to Europe?
After Brexit, carriers started looking for new routes between Ireland and the EU to bypass the UK landbridge, which now requires additional Customs, checks, and delays. Consequently, Ireland’s top port for accessing mainland Europe, Rosslare Europort, emerged as a new gateway to the continent.
Since the Brexit transition period expired, Irish traders have been shipping products directly to European ports. Because they frequently employ ferry services between Rosslare and the French ports of Dunkirk and Cherbourg, traffic to the Irish port has increased.
Ferry services from Rosslare Europort boosted freight volume by 45%. Meanwhile, the UK traffic decreased by 49%, while European freight increased by 446%. In response to rising demand, Rosslare Europort inaugurated expanded services by Brittany Ferries between Rosslare and Saint-Malo in France and Bilbao in Spain in January and February of this year.
The Bottom Line
Although the EU/UK agreement provides for free commerce, Brexit means a border between the two territories, necessitating Customs clearance and significant paperwork about compliance issues for cross-border trade. If you are a business operating in the transportation and logistics, seeking information relating to your specific circumstances is advisable. Contact us today if you have any queries.