Monday, 23 May 2016

How would a ‘Brexit’ affect the UK to EU haulage industry?

'Brexit' and UK Haulage - Logistics. Images: Pixabay Public Domain


Brexit is a term coined to refer to the exit of Britain from the European Union trade bloc and has come to the spotlight amidst the imminent ‘in/out’ referendum  that will see Britain vote whether we are to remain or leave the European Union. 

There are of course examples that aligns with both results, though it is important to understand any negatives, especially in some of the key industries the Britain has famously built its economy on.


On June 23rd 2016, British people will head to their polling stations to hold the vote if the UK’s membership within the European Union will be renewed. Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that if the UK were to leave the EU, it would no longer be an influential super-state member.

Why will there be a referendum anyway?

One of David Cameron’s promises when he won the right to remain as the leader of the country was that he would ensure an in/out EU referendum vote would take place to allow the public to choose. Now that they have remained in office, they have to keep their promise and the date in late June 2016 has been identified as the right time to hold the vote.

How would a ‘Brexit’ affect the logistics and haulage industry in the UK?

Many of the UK’s industries will be affected by potential changes to a ‘Brexit’. The current membership within the UK allows free movement throughout the member states as stipulated in trade agreements.

  • Redefining partnerships

Britain’s current biggest trading partner is the EU. With around 52% of British exports being to members of the union, a change to policies could have huge impact on logistics and haulage companies as well as UK exports.

Recent traffic at Channel ports is illustrative of the huge number of exports that the UK is making to Europe. The result ‘out’ may mean that existing EU trade agreements are changed, which could mean higher tariffs and slower execution times, meaning that there could be lower movement across borders.

  • Restricted Movement

Currently, British citizens enjoy the freedom of moving in and out of member states with the most minimum of restrictions, disruptions and even sometimes enjoy fast tracking through lines at EU border control. This ensures all citizens have hassle free travel throughout the continent. 

A possible ‘Brexit’ would lead to the giving up of that privilege, which could mean going through the meticulously slow passport control processes. From a haulage point of view, delivery hours would increase, as well as administration work to penetrate borders that were once open. This might result in decreased business for haulage companies.


When all is said and done…

A ‘Brexit’ is very possible and could soon mean that there is exclusion for the UK from EU free trade agreements. This means increased trade tariffs affection imports, while taking away the competitiveness of the UK products exporting.

If however, a 'Brexit' did take place, businesses may only face a rocky few months before they are able to find alternative methods that work in replacing business. It is likely that the haulage industry will be able to figure out alternative sources of raw products and markets when the dust settles, meaning it would bounce back after a few months in the event of an exit.

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