Brexit update: Be ready for supply chain disruption

The Chamber is advising businesses to plan for possible disruption to supply chains when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

The Government’s Reasonable Worst Case Scenario says that queues of 7,000 trucks are possible on the approach to Channel ports leading to delays of up to two days.

Chamber Chief Executive Rob Johnston said: “A delay of two days is serious if you’re moving perishable goods or depend on a just-in-time supply chain.

“Businesses that trade with Europe need to ensure they have the right paperwork in place and we’ve been working with many of them to ensure that they’re ready.

“Our concern now is for businesses that don’t import or export themselves but rely on imported goods or components.

“They need to talk to their suppliers to see how they might be affected and then take appropriate steps. That could mean carrying higher-than-normal levels of stock so the business is in a position to ride out any short-term disruption.”

The Prime Minister had threatened to walk away from trade talks with the EU if there was no progress by October 15. His current position is that the EU must move for talks to continue and he is advising businesses to prepare for no-deal.

Disagreements over state aid and fisheries remain the main obstacles to agreement.

Rob added: “Businesses should ignore all the noise about whether there will be a deal or not.

“A deal would mean tariff-free and quota-free trade, which is highly desirable, but many of the changes to processes and documentation apply regardless of whether there’s a deal.

“There’s nothing to be gained by delaying preparations.”

We overhauled our online Brexit toolkit over the summer and rebranded it Business Beyond Brexit.

There are sector guides and detailed sections covering trade and tariffs, people, travel and transport, and legal and intellectual property issues. There are also explanatory videos, webinars, podcasts and an online events calendar.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce