Transport Reaction to Brexit Vote

Immediate concerns over fuel prices in the wake of the Brexit vote and, longer term, over red tape hampering international haulage, insurance and Calais.

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Within minutes of the result being announced this morning, P&O tweeted that there were queues in Dover.

If it was a post-Brexit exodus it didn’t last long.

Not long after that some of the implications of the referendum started to come to light.

The consensus is that there are no immediate effects aside from possibly higher fuel prices.

In the longer term there are concerns about the migrants in Calais, and red tape in the international haulage business.

First off was AA president Edmund King who said on twitter, ‘The AA expects a rush on GB stickers as EC plates may not be valid. #Anythingcanhappen #EUref’.

Likely tongue in cheek, he is referring to British number plates which include the EU flag. That has meant the vehicle does not needed a separate GB sticker.

In a fuller statement, the AA says the immediate concern is fuel prices thanks to a weaker pound against the dollar and the euro, and a possible rise in fuel duty in an emergency post-Brexit budget.

Longer term, another issue could be insurance. It is currently governed by an EU directive to give drivers at least the legal minimum cover in other member states.

The BIBA British Insurance Brokers’ Association says, ‘The process of negotiating exit terms, setting out future arrangements with the EU and creating trading deals is likely to take some considerable time and will impact our industry during that period.  BIBA will work with the Government and other authorities to ensure that the interests of insurance brokers and their customers are fully represented in these vital negotiations. BIBA will make this a priority work stream during this time.’

On travelling to Europe generally, ABTA Association of British Travel Agents says, ‘People due to travel this summer will see little changes to their holiday. Once the UK formally notifies the EU of its intention to leave, the remaining Member States will have up to two years to offer the UK a deal for a future trading relationship and during this period holidaymakers will not see any immediate changes. 

However, the fall in value of the pound will have an immediate impact on holidaymakers and their spending power overseas.’

Meanwhile, the international haulage industry is concerned about new bureaucratic hurdles for imports and exports.

The FTA Freight Transport Association: ‘the FTA will lead campaign on behalf of exporters & importers to keep EU trade procedures simple & international transport costs down,’ it said in a tweet.

Chief executive David Wells says, ‘Even though we are coming out of Europe politically, it remains our biggest export market and the supplier of a high proportion of our imports. We cannot allow new bureaucratic burdens to hamper the efficient movement of exports heading for customers and imported goods destined for British consumers.’

The RHA Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett says, ‘This is an ‘earthquake moment’ for the whole country, the economy and our industry. We simply cannot take anything for granted. It’s vital that Ministers and the Bank of England work quickly to steady markets and nerves.’

The IRU International Road Transport Union says, ‘A number of issues will need to be addressed during negotiations in order to provide legal clarity and the stability that road transport operators need. These issues could include the use of and reintroduction of customs clearance and transit facilitation agreements, cross-border VAT, access to the market, access to the profession, and training standards and recognition. Transport operators may also be adversely affected by additional security issues such as clandestine migration and identity check requirements for passenger transport operators.

IRU urges a rapid resolution of these important issues in order to ensure clarity and facilitate proper business planning for the transport operators we represent through our members.’

Eurotunnel: ‘the result of the referendum will not affect the activity of the Channel Tunnel Concession. The Group maintains its outlook,’ it said in a statement.

Jacques Gounon, chairman and CEO of Groupe Eurotunnel says, ‘The Channel Tunnel fixed link was established with an international treaty between two sovereign states. Our Anglo-French vocation is to offer our customers a constantly improving and more competitive transport service. I am confident that we will achieve our goals.’

Industry association Discover Ferries says it, ‘Reassures holidaymakers that ferry services will remain the same and all travel options will continue as normal.’

Calais: mayor Natacha Bouchart had said it was too early to say what effect Brexit will have though regional president Xavier Bertrand repeated his repeated calls over the last year to renegotiate the Le Touquet Agreement  – this, effectively, keeps the migrants in Calais with the ‘juxtaposed’ border controls between the UK and France with border checks on each other’s territory.

However, according to the BBC, Bouchart has now called for the agreement to be renegotiated too, though – as a non-EU treaty between the two nations – it has nothing to do with the Calais mayor.

Over in Gibraltar, the Spanish foreign minister’s threat to close the border the morning after Brexit has not happened though Spain is due to hold a general election on Saturday.

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