During the past few months while the world has been transfixed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the once never-ending debate about Brexit has largely been forgotten. But as the transition period draws to an end, the stark realization that a satisfactory alternative to the UK’s 40-year relationship with the EU is far from settled, is rapidly snapping into focus.
For those in our industry involved in cross-channel traffic there are many questions still unanswered and many challenges lie ahead. For some the extra burden of bureaucracy will be too much to bear, while others, already experienced in international shipments, may welcome the changes and reap the rewards.
Whatever the long-term prospects one thing is almost certain. Without a near miracle happening at the negotiating table in Brussels during the next few weeks, the beginning of 2021 will be a nightmare for any driver daring to venture anywhere near the short- straits-crossings on both sides of the Channel.
But let’s not be too gloomy. Our industry is in a better position than most to weather the cross-channel storms. For a start we don’t carry perishable goods, so if we are delayed our valuable loads won’t be rotting in the truck or on the quayside. Second, it’s January, so what business there is, is likely to be light and by the spring when things start to come to life, things will, we hope, have settled down. Third, as removals operators we’re not selling our shipments, just transporting them, so whatever is decided in Brussels, deal or no deal, our cargos will not generally suffer from EU or WTO tariffs, however, taxable items such as wine collections or vehicles will be subject to taxation ...