What does no-deal Brexit mean for warehousing?


Left speechless by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit? Us too. How does one create a strategy for business in such an unpredictable climate? With the logistics industry set to be hardest hit by the impact, this is a quick round-up of the views and concerns from the media and industry leaders in the event of a no-deal. 

As an overview on the consequences of a no-deal, the Guardian’s team of scholars who have spent their entire careers studying the relationship between the UK and the EU have this to say: 

“No deal means a cliff edge; the full panoply of checks and tariffs will be imposed on our exports to the EU, and cross-border trade in services will face new restrictions.

So trade with the EU will become more difficult and more costly, with those costs being potentially catastrophic for smaller companies that do not have the margins to absorb them…”

The RTE illuminates the problem already being faced by a potential no-deal Brexit: Ireland is running out of warehousing space. “Groups representing businesses say the cost of warehouse space is rising due to the lack of capacity.” If you’re in the sort of business that needs to stockpile or stock up - the next three months are looking precarious what with Halloween and Christmas good taking up all available space fast. 

The FTA urges taking the possibility of a no-deal seriously, 

Everyone agrees that while warehousing space was relatively easy to find in the lead-up to the March deadline this year - the October 31st deadline is very different with spaces going very fast. “According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, 85% of its members are putting time and money into preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Major concerns focus on being prevented from moving goods if Britain leaves the EU on 31 October without a transition agreement in place.

To mitigate shortages, companies are stockpiling inventory in warehouses near UK ports.” 

One optimistic voice, though notably not from the UK comes from the president of the Brexit task force, Antwerp Port Authority who suggests that a no-deal Brexit, if inevitable, should be used as a motivator to find how Brexit might present itself as a business opportunity. 

His positive takeaway for example: “The modal shift from accompanied to unaccompanied transport in particu­lar, puts Port of Antwerp, as the second-largest port in Europe, at the advantage to become the gateway to and from Europe for the UK and Ireland.” Wim Dillen

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