- The British logistics sector is asking Boris Johnson to extend the Brexit transition period.
- The Prime Minister has insisted that he will not delay the next phase of Brexit despite the COVID 19 virus crisis.
- The Freight Transport Association said on Wednesday: "Our industry needs government support to avoid being broken by it."
- The sector said companies could not plan new trade agreements with the EU while addressing the "emergency" caused by the corona virus outbreak.
- British hauliers are under great pressure to deliver the bare essentials after public demand has skyrocketed.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
The UK logistics sector has asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to extend the transition period to Brexit until the end of December, and warns that the "one-off" coronavirus pandemic needs to be addressed first.
The Freight Transport Association, which represents UK logistics, called on Wednesday for the Brexit transition period to be extended so that it could "focus on the serious problems the COVID-19 pandemic poses for the industry".
The transition period expires at the end of December. In the meantime, the UK will comply with all EU trade and customs regulations to give businesses on both sides of the border time to adapt new trade regulations.
However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus across the continent has derailed negotiations for a new free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Talks were postponed and EU negotiator Michel Barnier tested positive for the virus.
Johnson has insisted that he will not extend the transition period despite the outbreak.
Elizabeth de Jong, the political director of the Free Trade Agreement, called on the Prime Minister to change his stance on Tuesday and warned: "Our industry needs government support to avoid being broken by it."
De Jong said: "Logistics faces unprecedented challenges, both in supplying the UK economy with all the goods it needs to function, and in coping with the increasing disruption in the workforce due to illness, self-isolation and concerns about the viability of its economy Companies. "
Freight forwarders have been under increasing pressure in recent weeks as the demand for groceries and staples in supermarkets has skyrocketed. British had to eat at home after the British government closed restaurants, cafes and other non-essential shops. A senior figure in the food and beverage industry told Business Insider that a large retailer saw a 1,000% increase in demand for a line of goods last week.
"Our top priority is always to deliver to our customers, and there is simply not enough capacity to plan the key structural changes needed to successfully exit the EU, as well as the variety of other legislative changes planned on Horizon." as well as dealing with unprecedented pressure through COVID-19, "said de Jong.
"In addition to the administrative, practical, and financial difficulties in our sector, the pandemic will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the supply of new equipment, technology and vehicles in the coming months, as well as the ability of the industry to hire and train new staff."
"Add the challenge of adapting to new trade agreements with the EU that are yet to be formalized, and the situation puts logistics under enormous and unnecessary pressure."
She added: "Logistics is a flexible industry, but such significant changes cannot happen overnight, and there is simply no ability to plan and implement new legislation within the system at the moment.
"COVID-19 has created a unique emergency that requires full attention from the entire sector. Adding a host of new laws would put immense, unnecessary pressure on an already extended supply chain."
At a meeting of around 20 logistics companies last week, it was agreed that the industry should ask the British government to extend the Brexit transition period.
The free trade agreement states that companies are fully focused on maintaining the flow of goods and do not have the bandwidth to prepare for exit from the EU internal market and customs union.