Ports association says UK must remain in European Customs Union


By Jite Eriabie 

The British Ports Association has come out in support of the United Kingdom remaining in European Union Customs Union (EUCU) following the release of final container volume recorded at the country’s terminal during 2016.

A total of 10.2million TEU crossed the UK’s busy wharves, an increase of six percent over the previous year and a record high for the country, the Department for Transport (DFT) announced.

Within this total is significant and growing trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and British Port Association, Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne said the impact of leaving the ECCU was likely to be substantial.

“The prospect of Customs and bureaucratic checks at the border could potentially create congestion and delays at certain ports adding cost for traders, manufacturers and consumers. Allowing the United Kingdom to maintain as many of the benefits of Customs Union membership as possible will ensure business as usual for ports and operators in the logistics chain,” he said.

The UK government recently published its Brexits Customs partnership paper, which made suggestions on trade with Europe and shared standards, but there is no indication from the European Union as to whether the proposals will be acceptable.

British International Freight Association (BIFA) Director General, Robert Keen said he was seeking additional information from the UK government on how the proposal planed to avoid the imposition of tariffs, border checks, customs declaration and bureaucracy for UK’s businesses trading within the European Union.

Keen said it was no surprise that the paper was all about possible trade and Customs arrangements posts- Brexit.

“Having read and digested the paper thoroughly, BIFA believes it shows for the first time that there now appears to be a united position in the cabinet in favour of a more businesslike approach to Brexit and the need to facilitate trade with the European Union,” he said.    

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