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LONDON: June 14, 2019. A survey by the British Institute of Directors (IoD) business group says only 23 percent of its members have made contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit in October and warns companies cannot afford to put their faith in politicians.

Over 50 percent “had still not engaged in any contingency planning, and only four percent said they would be using the extension period to pick up the pace,” said the IoD.

Interim director general Edwin Morgan commented: “It shouldn’t need saying but many seem to have forgotten that getting a deal would be by some distance the better outcome, both for the UK and the EU. If businesses can’t have faith in politicians, that means they have to look out for themselves,” he added.

One company that says it is prepared for any outcome is Dutch multimodal transport group Samskip. However CEO Diederick Blom warned that EU parliamentary elections, entrenched views from UK and EU politicians and the current contest to become the next UK prime minister point to a “hard” Brexit. “We comment as logistics professionals not politicians but managing the supply chain is core to meeting the expectations of business and consumers alike,” he noted.

samskip brexit contingencySamskip expects UK exporters and importers to start switching away from trailers and towards containerisation very soon, repeating a trend established in the run-up to the original Brexit deadline. “We saw a significant push in container volumes up to March 2019, especially into Hull, as decision-makers facing uncertainity opted for the reliability and proven procedures of container shipping,” claimed David Besseling, Samskip UK Trade manager. “Concerns over supply chain security are fast re-emerging,” he added.

Besseling said the six-month delay has allowed his company to refine post-Brexit arrangements and lay down plans for new rail links eastward from Dutch ports to Berlin and Poland, adding to a previous focus on Duisburg and Mannheim.

“We have been able to demonstrate performance levels to UK importers and exporters where mutlimodal options have been added that will enable seamless Customs clearance. We are also confident that cross-docking services in Amsterdam will persuade more shippers of conventional wagon loads from Germany, Austria, Poland and Italy to containerise,” he continued.

International delivery expert ParcelHero warns the logistics industry is a bellwether for the UK economy and the collapse of an abnormally high number of leading supply chain companies in the last 12 months points to a Brexit-induced recession.

Company head of Consumer Research David Jinks commented: “Over the past 12 months we have seen the collapse into administration or complete demise of industry stalwarts such as the Canute Group, Bedfords, Simon Widdowson and TAS Transport. It’s no coincidence that many of their customers are involved in areas of the supply chain impacted by Brexit uncertainty, such as manufacturing.

“The international haulage companies at the coalface of Brexit are already suffering from its impact. For instance, the car transport specialist Beamish Transport failed in March directly because of the impact of Brexit on Britain’s car manufacturing output.”

“Northern Ireland’s specialist steel haulier Donnolley Transport was forced into administration in September as the weight of Brexit began to hit Britain’s steel industry; that was an early pointer to the eventual fate of British Steel. Add to the mix the likes of Axis Fleet Management, Simpsons Logistics and Harris Transport and it’s a rollcall of fallen companies," he continued.

“We are seeing the first rotten fruits of a potential Brexit-created recession; even as the Conservative leadership contest turns into a virility battle over who will be toughest on forcing through a no-deal Brexit in October. That would mean Customs chaos and new duties on British products,” claimed Jinks.

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