There must be direct engagement with logistics businesses, training and a move to minimise friction for the sector as the UK negotiates its trading relationship with the EU.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to have hugely detrimental impact on society and economies across the globe, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has now outlined its Keeping Northern Ireland and Great Britain trading document, as the UK negotiates its trading relationship with the EU and today marks the first meeting of the joint UK and EU committee focused on how to implement the Northern Ireland protocol.
“As the protocol is agreed and developed, new trading and transport provisions need to be tested with industry and communicated early so it has enough time to adapt,” the FTA has said.
It’s calling on the Government to address a series of key areas in regards to the negotiations.
- Engage with logistics from the start
- Minimise friction, red tape and costs for industry
- Derogations for qualifying trade flows
- Assistance with the cost of transition
- Customs training and support to build customs capacity
- Simplified transit for Northern Irish goods to Great Britain through Dublin
- Preserve road and Irish Sea connectivity
- Preserve essential staff mobility
Earlier this month it was revealed crucial logistics firms here are facing massive operating losses of up to £150,000 a week, with dozens facing an uncertain future, amid the coronavirus crisis.
While some companies are seeing business soar to levels of demand associated with Christmas such as those involved in meat and poultry, others which deliver for firms such as fashion retailers have seen trade plummet as the UK-wide lockdown hits business.
Businesses which deliver to Northern Ireland but rely on bringing goods such as returns back to Britain and elsewhere are now "running on empty", but facing the same costs and overheads.
For some there has been a 90% drop in business, and unsustainable trading imbalances.