"Huge challenge" for no-deal Brexit - RHA chief

By Simon Warburton | 1 August 2019

Britain's Road Haulage Association (RHA) says the government still faces a "huge challenge" to prepare business in time for a no-deal Brexit.

The warning comes as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid pledged no-deal preparation funding and plans for additional staff at the border as the UK faces a rapidly approaching exit date of 31 October, to which new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has pledged himself, 'do or die.'

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said action from the government is welcome but warned it will be a tall order to make businesses ready as well as new border staff recruited and trained in time for the Halloween deadline.

"This is big picture and what we badly need is detail," said Burnett. "We need a complete, practical how-to guide to ensure traders know what they have to do to get across the borders after Brexit."

Earlier this week the RHA called on the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove to act urgently so goods can continue to flow across borders if there is a no-deal Brexit.

In a letter to the cabinet minister in charge of Brexit arrangements, Burnett set out the measures he says would ensure high volumes of freight could continue moving if customs controls are introduced on 31 October.

He urged Gove to press government departments to:

Burnett added the Association is frustrated with the previous government's lack of progress in its Brexit preparations and believes Whitehall officials have underestimated the complexities of international road haulage.

"We need to focus on the immediate action required for our industry to be prepared….the priority is very simple – to maximise the number of freight vehicles that can cross the border quickly to ensure the supply chain everyone is reliant upon can continue," he said.

Quick progress on the RHA's six actions would minimise delays in the supply chain, as customs sites and logistics firms face overwhelming bureaucracy, noted Burnett.