Leading trade association for the logistics sector, UKWA (United Kingdom Warehousing Association) has welcomed the package of measures announced by the government to support the expansion of the customs brokerage sector ahead of UK leaving the EU in March 2019 This will include a one-off investment of £8 million to support broker training and increased automation.
Peter Ward, UKWA CEO, who has worked closely alongside HMRC over recent months, providing expert advice and feedback from the industry ‘coalface’ to cross-departmental committees, has been vocal in highlighting the potential crisis at UK borders, given the likelihood of an additional 200 million frontier declarations post Brexit.
“We are delighted that the government has been listening to the voice of the industry and has responded positively with targeted investment to train the additional resources required,” Ward said. “We note that this is being positioned as a Day One, No Deal measure, but we are impressing on government that is that this action is necessary on a sustainable basis, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.”
The new package will include the creation and delivery of new training courses and materials for customs brokers, a grant scheme to support intermediaries and/or traders with the upfront costs of training their employees and a further grant scheme to support investment in automation in the sector to support smaller intermediaries who currently rely on manual data input in setting up IT systems to complete customs declarations.
Ward adds that UKWA is consulting with government and providing feedback from members on all issues associated with Brexit that affect the industry, supplying the necessary detail to enable coherent and effective policy to be formulated going forward.
“UKWA is here to help government understand the perspective of the industry on the real impact Brexit is likely to have, particularly on supply chain delays and surging warehouse demand,” he confirms. “Meantime, we are advising our members to prepare for a no deal Brexit and the 300,000 business that currently trade with the EU to classify goods per UCC (Unified Customs Code), apply for deferment accounts and find partners and a trade association that can help them prepare for the turbulent times ahead.”