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British Ports Warn of Significant Challenges Around ‘No Deal’ Brexit

Date: 28/03/2019

The British Ports Association has issued a new warning on the significant challenges for some ports around a ‘no deal’ Brexit, ahead of the latest vote in the UK Parliament.

On the possibility of a disorderly Brexit and the impact upon trade Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said:

We are urging Parliament and Ministers to take the responsible step of ruling out a ‘no deal’ Brexit. UK ports are resilient and have been involved in extensive planning for this scenario but that has always about mitigating for disruption, not avoiding it. While many UK ports will continue as usual there will undoubtedly be significant challenges for particular ports with trade with Europe.

We have consistently said that a ‘no deal’ Brexit must be avoided. Many in the wider logistics industry have warned of shortages of skills and the required infrastructure to continue to support free flowing trade with the EU and we remain concerned that leaving without an agreement is wreckless and unnecessary.

We are also concerned about the wider impact on the economy of a ‘no deal’, which according to Government figures could lead to a significant slow down in trade and business activity.

Specifically on the challenges for UK fishing ports Mr Ballantyne added:

Approximately 80% of fish landed in UK ports is exported. We are keen to reap the benefits for UK ports and fishing communities from Brexit, but a chaotic exit is not the way to go about this.

The Government currently issues 300 catch certificates a year to allow fish to be exported but we understand this will rise to 300,000 in a ‘no deal’ scenario. We are concerned that such a huge change in capability could be introduced with only two weeks notice.

The introduction of significant tariffs and non-tariff barriers could impact the catching sector as well as see boats landing elsewhere to avoid these barriers. This undermines the Brexit dividend that could await fishing communities. We need an orderly withdrawal and frictionless trade backed with a requirement to land more UK fish in UK ports.

Source: British Ports Association

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