‘LEAVING the EU without a free trade agreement would hurt businesses on both sides of the Channel,’ said Elizabeth de Jong, Logistics UK’s policy director, ‘putting pan-European supply chains at risk and potentially driving up the price of trade between the UK and its biggest trading partner.
‘There are two sides to every border, and we are hopeful that the EU will recognise the economic benefits to having continued access to the UK market while acknowledging the contribution that UK hauliers bring to their own market. After all, the EU’s hauliers do double the value of haulage trade in the UK that the UK’s own operators do in the EU.
‘Logistics UK is hopeful that a compromise can be reached. Without one, the situation for both UK and EU hauliers is bleak, as the alternative permit system provides very little access on either side of the border, and the resulting slowdown in traffic across the border would put the nation’s interconnected supply chain at risk.’
Brussels’ Reaction Short-Sighted
The RHA is concerned at the continuing refusal from Brussels to grant British truckers the access to Europe they need to keep the UK supply chain moving.
Not allowing them the same access rights that the UK is willing to negotiate with the EU will damage businesses on both sides of the Channel, stressed RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.
‘The UK Government is trying to provide symmetry but in terms of market access the EU’s position is far more damaging because of the balance, or imbalance, of trade.
‘85% of the volume of goods that come into the UK is moved by European hauliers, UK operators are responsible for the movement of only 15%.
‘The government approach is to try and negotiate access to the EU while trying to maintain symmetry, but the EU’s current decision puts them at a disadvantage. Maintaining the supply chain between Great Britain and the rest of Europe can only be achieved on a level playing field.
‘The UK is taking a liberal view, suggesting that cabotage remains on the table. But symmetry works both ways. If the EU remains adamant to remove cabotage, the UK will have no choice but to follow suit.
‘If this is the outcome then the intransigence of the EU means that they will be shooting themselves in the foot.’