The trade association for UK freight forwarding companies and logistics service providers says that whilst it welcomes some of the announcements in yesterday’s UK Budget, many of the issues covered reflect or are overshadowed by the ongoing uncertainty over the shape that the UK’s exit from the EU is taking.
Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) says, “We welcome the news that the planned increase in fuel duty has been scrapped, and also welcome the further funding for apprenticeships and training, as we encourage our members to recruit youngsters into the sector.
“If the increased budget that the Department for International Trade will see over the next few years does indeed support UK business to take full advantage of trade opportunities and improve the UK’s exports, that will be positive news for our members that facilitate the movement of much of the country’s visible trade.
“The commitment of £180 million to build a UK Single Trade Window, to reduce trade costs by digitally streamlining trader interactions with border agencies, will also be welcomed by our members that have to deal with those myriad agencies, especially if it helps reduce the duplication of work that takes place at present.
“The additional finance for the three years to 2024-25 to complete the delivery of critical customs IT, including the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) that is replacing CHIEF, recognises the challenges that design and implementation programme still faces.
“Our members, and the customers they serve, remain concerned about the potential impact on their activities at the UK border and elsewhere in the supply chains that they manage, of the transition from CHIEF to CDS, as well as the timetable for the implementation of the Border Operating Model.
“The promise to consult businesses on customs processes, the intermediaries market and transit facilitation to ensure that government and industry can work in partnership together to deliver a world class customs regime is also welcome.
“We hope that promise is not just spin and look forward to active engagement.”