Responding to the decision by the UK Parliament to reject a deal, which set out the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union on March 29, Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said:
“The decision taken by Parliament is historic and needs to be acknowledged.
“With just a couple of months to go before the exit date, the rejection of the deal leads BIFA to recommend that our members, which are the companies that handle the processing of most of the UK’s visible trade, to prepare on the basis that there will be a hard Brexit.
“Speculating about any other outcome is inadvisable until UK Government provides us with clear guidelines.
“A hard deal may well be very disruptive and damaging for the UK economy as a whole, but freight forwarders – many of whom are Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited – will play a key role in tidying up the mess left by the politicians by ensuring UK importers and exporters can continue trading without undue disruption with the rest of Europe after March 29.
“BIFA has always stated its belief that a disorderly Brexit would be the worse outcome, as it is likely to increase trade barriers and impose significant restrictions on the exchange of goods between the EU and the UK.
“Whilst BIFA’s executive management has engaged with various government departments over the last two years in regards to issues that affect the movement of visible trade post March 29th, our members have also been discussing the possible impacts with their clients.
“Large and small, BIFA members have taken actions to review all options to overcome the disorder that a no-deal Brexit could bring to international trade in order to define sustainable solutions as the set of Brexit conditions becomes clearer.
“BIFA will be renewing our appeals to the responsible bodies in London and Brussels to do the utmost to prevent this scenario. As far as we are concerned, our members are focussed on ensuring the ongoing efficient flow of freight for our customers.
“One thing is certain, our members are ready, willing and able, to clear up the mess that has been left by politicians.”