At the United Kingdom Warehousing Association’s (UKWA) Annual Parliamentary Lunch, held recently at the House of Lords, UKWA CEO, Peter Ward, announced that the UK logistics industry is ready and willing to work closely with the Government to ensure that post-Brexit customs procedures do not stifle supply chain efficiency.
He was responding to guest speaker, Ben Fowler from HMRC, who outlined the government’s recently published Customs Bill paper and HMRC’s vision for future Customs arrangements, giving an indication of how legislation covering the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes is likely to be framed. As part of its planning, the Government is suggesting that extra inland customs clearance depots may need to be established to free up capacity in and around UK ports.
Where possible, it is hoped that this can be achieved by upgrading existing handling and distribution facilities which could, potentially, represent new opportunities for those in the warehousing and logistics sector.
Mr Fowler acknowledged UKWA’s input into post Brexit planning through its representative engagement in HMRC’s Joint Customs Consultative Committee, and stressed the importance of consultation with those ‘at the coalface’ through their trade associations and business organisations.
On the Customs Bill White Paper, Ward commented that any additional intervention points in the supply chain are likely to be mitigated by the buffering of stock, which will result in the call for more warehousing space, echoing the notion that Brexit may be good news for the logistics sector.
Peter Ward commented: “Whilst Brexit means we are, in effect dismantling the business processes and working practices that have evolved over 40 years, which will clearly present challenges, the logistics industry has shown time and again that it is more than capable of responding to the issues thrown up by the constantly shifting commercial and societal landscapes, and I am sure that this time will be no different.”