The British Ports Association (BPA) has written to the EU to warn that a free trade agreement on goods could still lead to major disruption and European ports.
The letter has been sent as the European Council’s negotiating guidelines were released.
A free trade deal is likely to lead to cross-border customs and environmental health standard border checks on EU-UK trade being introduced, which is predominately carried on roll-on roll-off ferry port routes.
Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said: “The potential implications of the UK leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market include the prospect of new frontier controls for certain parts of the European freight and maritime sector.
This could lead to queues and delays for vehicle based freight both at the UK ports but also at a number of European gateways.
We have written to both Michel Barnier and Donald Tusk to outline the issues and to suggest that any Brexit trade deal should look at ways to overcome the need for such inspections.
We are discussing these issues with the UK Government but it remains unclear as to how much discussion is underway in Europe.”