Creating a Practical Path through Brexit

This has been taken from CILT Focus Magazine – Susan Morley FCILT, Chair, Customs and International Trade Compliance Forum, CILT: Director, Morley Consulting Training Limited.

Since the Brexit referendum, our profession, which was mainly unheard of outside of its members, is finally being recognised as critical to the economy and has become worthy of tabloid headlines. In response, CILT has become a high valued source of non-political and non-partisan advice and guidance to a large variety of government committees, departments and steering groups, as well as providing factual information to the media, as we all seek to create a path to a successful Brexit.

Even ignoring the sensationalist headlines, it is certain that whatever your role in the supply chain, Brexit is going to bring changes to your operation and to your customers’ requirements. This is true regardless of the outcome of government EU negotiations. Whatever deal we do or do not get, the supply chain will not be the same as it is today anywhere in the UK.

The depth of expert knowledge within CILT is apparent in the variety of topics with which we have engaged with the UK government: everything from the need for and type of roles fulfilled by EU nationals in transport, warehousing and logistics, to measures to address the current driver shortage, cabotage, customs legislation and procedures and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, to port/airport operations and the impact on Dover and other channel ports.

Throughout these discussions CILT has sought to attain practical, workable solutions that benefit its members, whilst seeking to ensure that the new opportunities that change always brings can be placed within our members’ grasp. CILT is working tirelessly to ensure that new legislation is fit for purpose by responding to consultations using members’ in-depth, practical expert knowledge.

Time does not stand still, however. While our attention is focused on Brexit issues, we cannot forget the heightened pace of change in our sector. Automation, artificial intelligence, blockcahin and all manner of internet-enabled processes are now no longer science fiction, but a reality that we need to evaluate and incorporate into our business lives. These changes were already coming, but it is fair to say Brexit has focused minds and is driving a much faster pace of change and quicker industry adoption of these new opportunities.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the eventual Brexit deal, how can businesses prepare, let alone grab advantages? The most important thing to do now is to urgently review your current position in the supply chain and to consider how that might change and what impact the three scenarios being considered by the Government will have for you:

  1. No Deal: the UK leaves the EU at the end of March 2019, implementing full third-country border crossing formalities; or
  2. The UK leaves the EU in December 2020 at the end of an implementation period, but signs a new customs partnership that allows for similar border crossing processes to those we have today; or
  3. The UK leaves the EU in December 2020 at the end of an implementation period with a type of Free Trade Agreement, with full third-country border formalities in place, having vastly improved and optimised the processes that support those formalities to ensure maximum facilitation at the border

Then start discussions with your customers to see if, for example, they are thinking of switching routes or modes of transport, will need more warehouse space for contingency stock, no longer requiring your tried and tested services, such as customer clearance, or will only be willing to work with AEO-certified to gain the facilities this offers.

Then engage with CILT Regions, Forums and policy committees to discover how you can use these changes to create new opportunities for business growth. Breixit is change; change creates opportunity. CILT will continue to represent members at the highest levels to ensure our vital profession can successfully respond to the challenge.


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