UK Pledges No-deal Brexit Freight Funding

New Government Announces £300 Million Investment

Newly elected UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to invest £300 million in additional freight capacity to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.

Having taken over as prime minister last week, Johnson has quickly set about reshuffling his cabinet in preparation for a harder no-deal Brexit and stated his intention to leave the EU by November “do or die.”

The funding follows news that the UK government has extended a deadline to ensure the delivery of vital medical supplies from Sept. 1 to Oct. 24, and comes as the previous Brexit deal, negotiated under previous Prime Minister Theresa May, seems unlikely to progress.

Step Up Preparations

Despite the hard change in tack towards a no-deal Brexit by the UK government, business has been left with little concrete foresight over the potential shape of trade in the coming months, leading to calls to step up preparations from industry associations.

“With less than 100 days to the Brexit deadline, departments in that new government must urgently step up their preparations, engage with and listen to trade associations such as BIFA, immediately step up their preparations and deliver clear advice on how trade will be conducted after Oct. 31, deal or no deal,” said Robert Keen, director deneral of the British International Freight Association, or BIFA.

Member-run BIFA represents breakbulk operators and companies engaged in the international movement of freight across the UK.

Call for Clarity

Johnson's new government has declared an intention to keep the “purse strings open’ with regard to preparations for an Oct. 31, Brexit but all eyes are on the legislature to see what practical steps will be put in place.

“Talk is all well and good; but what we now need is clear information and instructions … As the trade body that speaks for the sector of the economy that is responsible for managing the supply chains that underpin the UK’s visible international trade, we’ve been vocal in our concerns that our members cannot prepare for a no-deal Brexit, given the ongoing uncertainty over many issues that affect how they conduct that trade,” Keen added.

Ministers are expected to invite firms to make bids in the coming weeks for the provision of new freight capacity in response to a no-deal Brexit.