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Collett UK 2TUNBRIDGE WELLS, UK: June 29, 2017. Britain's Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned that without EU workers after 2019, the country's logistics industry will "grind to a halt".

The FTA says employees from EU countries account for 13 percent of truck drivers and 26 percent of warehouse workers out of a total 2.54 million people employed in a sector that contributes £121 billion Gross Value Added to the British economy.

"These EU workers are crucial to the success of the UK's logistics industry – and thus to the success of the nation's economy as a whole," said FTA head of European Policy Pauline Bastidon. "With insufficient homegrown workers currently available, the government needs to give careful consideration to how vacancies could be filled in the short and long term, to ensure that Britain keeps on trading, both domestically and internationally."

On June 26 Britain's prime minister Theresa May announced that EU workers who have been living continuously in the UK for five years would be able to apply to stay in the country indefinitely after 2019. However she avoided saying when the cut-off date would be for EU citizens who had not been resident for the requisite period.

“I want to completely reassure people that under these plans, no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully, will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU,” she declared.

Noting the government's announcement was a welcome first step in enabling its 16,000 corporate members to plan and manage their workforces, the FTA said much more had to be done to ensure "logistics companies are not left stranded, without the skilled workforce required to keep Britain's trade moving nationwide, and across borders to other nations".

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