Concerns are continuing to grow among UK businesses over the future of international trade as Brexit draws closer. Following Britain’s exit from the EU, delays are expected to become commonplace at ports across the UK and this has huge potential for business disruptions.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) has said that leaving the EU with no deal by March could mean long delays at British borders.Delays at customs

A survey of more than 1,300 UK and EU-based supply chain managers found that a tenth of UK firms said they’d face the risk of bankruptcy if goods were delayed by between 10 and 30 minutes at the border.

An increase in the amount of paperwork and checks at customs means that businesses will be losing money. Time is money for businesses after all.

Those who trade with fresh produce are particularly at risk of losing perishable goods during delays.

Major chains such as Next, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover have voiced their concerns over tougher border controls. Honda said that a no-deal Brexit could add 60,000 extra pieces of paperwork for imports and exports into the UK and cost the firm tens of millions of pounds.

Other businesses have quickly moved their headquarters away from Britain, anticipating the difficulties that Brexit is expected to bring.

John Glen, economist at CIPS said: “It’s such a potential car crash. Common sense has got to prevail. We need to have a two-year transition period and to get something sorted out during that. The idea of day-one no-deal is just crazy.”

Preparing for disruption

CIPS’s survey found that almost a quarter of British businesses are making plans to stockpile goods in anticipation of border delays and a shortage of goods. 4% are already doing so.

Research from Imperial College London has estimated that a delay of just two minutes during checking could more than triple the existing queues at ports. This could lead to a motorway tailback in Kent up to 29 miles long, which will further disrupt businesses in the local area.


What do you think of the survey results? Are you likely to be affected by delays at the border? Please share your thoughts below.