Brexit. What now
As the Conservatives celebrate a most successful general election result, with a dominant majority of 80, shippers should be able to relax, at least until the end of next year.
The threat of no-deal Brexit should now be off the table, assuming that Boris Johnson will use the majority to finally get his Withdrawal Agreement passed. Which means the UK will leave the EU at the end of January 2020 and enter an implementation period during which nothing changes to cross-border trade, at least until 31st December 2020.
There is an option to extend the transition period for a further two years, but that option needs to be exercised by 1st July 2020.
Whichever option is followed, the uncertainty of leaving without a withdrawal agreement has largely been mitigated.
While the possibility that we could leave without a trade agreement remains, even if that were to happen, it would be less severe than leaving without a withdrawal agreement, as GATT rules would allows tariff free trade whilst the final deal is negotiated.
New Customs formalities remain more likely in the future – perhaps if we do start trading under GATT – which is why we will continue to prepare for that scenario. Working closely with the British International Freight Association (BIFA) and HMRC to stay on top of developments.
It is hard to see the UK negotiating a frictionless exit, but an exit with less friction is fine and any Customs processes will be highlighted and prepared for in advance.
We will continue to monitor the developing situation and keep you informed of the issues that affect you.