New customs arrangements post-Brexit could be challenging for traders that rely on just-in-time delivery of goods and components.
New research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), in partnership with the Port of Dover, has found that over a third (36%) of traders rely on the just-in-time delivery of material and components. However, many are not preparing for changes to customs procedures after Brexit.
The survey of over 835 UK businesses that export or import found that delays at UK or EU ports would lead to considerable business disruption, particularly for those operating on a just-in-time basis.
Nearly a third (29%) of companies believe they will be impacted in terms of administration, costs or operations by delays or congestion at UK or European ports after Brexit. And the one in three (33%) businesses affected by the implementation of new customs procedures still aren't planning for checks and declarations between the UK and the EU.
The BCC says the Government needs to "define its vision for the end state relationship with the EU" so that businesses have clarity and are in a position to implement the necessary changes to their operations from the start of the transition period. In the meantime, it says firms should be planning for different scenarios to minimise future disruption.
Around a third of the UK's trade in goods crosses the English Channel in lorries via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel; 67% of respondents say it's not likely that their business will move its operations from their existing UK port to a different UK port in the next three years, but 30% say the infrastructure leading to and from ports is not meeting their business needs.
Dr Adam Marshall, BCC director general, said: "The UK Government has made clear its intention to leave the Customs Union. Firms need to know what checks and declarations they will have to go through on trade with the EU - and need to start planning for the changes ahead … Leave it too late, and firms could face even greater disruption or cost when the time comes for changes to border arrangements to be implemented."