The British Ports Association (BPA) has welcomed the post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and the EU but warned of a significant change in cross-border trade in the future.
Commenting on the deal, Richard Ballantyne, the BPA’s Chief Executive, said the prospect of continued tariff-free trade with the EU will be welcomed by the freight and logistics industries.
Agricultural and automotive trade with the EU will continue without the high tariffs that would have been put in place had the sides not reached an agreement by the end of the transition period on 31 December.
However, it will see the UK leave the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, the consequence of which will be new regulation.
“Goods being transported between Great Britain and the EU, including Northern Ireland, will be subject to a number of new controls and requirements and there is no escaping the increase in costs that this will create for UK traders, businesses and potentially consumers,” Ballantyne said.
“As our new trading relationship starts to bed down we are hopeful that an ongoing reciprocal acceptance of each other’s standards might mean a reduced need for inspections and interventions at ports and borders.”
Earlier in December, the BPA said British ports were likely to have new frictions with or without a Brexit deal and that this would disrupt trade flows, at least in the short term.
The UK Chamber of Shipping said the Government has moved quickly to assure that the deal represents a good outcome for the UK. However, it said it will analyse the text of the agreement when it is available.
The country’s main gateways have seen traffic increase substantially over the past few weeks as retailers restock ahead of Christmas and the New Year amid fears of new tariffs.
The congestion deteriorated after the French government banned all accompanied cargo through the Port of Dover after the discovery of a new strain of COVID-19 in the Southeast of England.