Brexit confusion could stifle further sector growth, says FTA.

18 May, 17
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Lack of information about the potential impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union is causing business uncertainty among one of the nation’s most vibrant business sectors.  According to the Logistics Report 2017 from the Freight Transport Association (FTA), uncertainty about potential tariffs, border delays, access to staff and increased levels of bureaucracy are key concerns to the sector, as it works to achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of a “truly global Britain.”

“FTA members are committed to ensuring that Britain keeps trading with Europe and the rest of the world after Brexit,” says David Wells, Chief Executive of FTA, “but need clarity on how the new trading relationships are to continue efficiently after the UK’s departure from the EU.  The findings of The Logistics Report 2017 show clearly that business needs time to plan and adapt to ensure that the nation’s trading relationships can continue to flourish and grow, and we urge government to keep freight and logistics at the heart of the negotiating agenda with EU-27.

“The UK’s supply chains are the lifeblood of the country’s economy, and must be prioritised to ensure that goods and services can continue to move freely both internally and across borders if the country is to continue to flourish in a post-Brexit world.”

The UK is a global leader in logistics, ranking in the World Bank’s top ten countries and contributing more than £121 billion Gross Value Added to the UK’s economy.  This contribution equates to 11% of the nation’s non-financial business economy.  However, The Logistics Report 2017 has identified that the UK’s infrastructure still needs work to allow the nation to compete on an equal footing with other EU-27 countries.

“The UK’s infrastructure will need a major injection of finance if the country is to continue to perform effectively in the global market,” continues Wells.  “The quality of the country’s roads, port, air and rail infrastructures all need capital support to keep freight moving with minimum delays across the country, and at its borders, and FTA members are keen to see government committing to this vital investment.”

The UK’s freight industry has seen consistent growth in the past decades, with the number of goods vehicles travelling from the UK to mainland Europe up 83% in the last 20 years.  And, Brexit or not, this growth is set to continue in the future:

“The Logistics Report 2017 predicts that the daily number of vehicles travelling between the UK and continental Europe is set to increase from 14,000 to 16,000 in the next ten years,” continues Wells.  “Air and sea freight is also set to increase from the UK to other trading partners worldwide.  With so much UK business relying on overseas partners, FTA is insisting that government recognises the essential role of logistics in the economy, and provides the necessary investment that will keep Britain trading successfully for years to come.”

The Logistics Report 2017 is FTA’s definitive overview of the logistics sector, compiled annually from the results of the membership association’s annual poll of members’ experiences of the freight market and trading environment.   It covers every aspect of the UK’s freight and logistics sector, and includes contributions from the CBI and University of Cambridge as well as representatives from all modes of the FTA’s membership, which currently exceeds 16,000 businesses trading in the UK and overseas.  Questions in the survey, conducted in November and December 2016, covered economic and political issues affecting the logistics sector, and expectations for 2017.    For a full copy of the report, please visit


Notes for editors

For further information please contact the FTA press office on 01892 552255 or email [email protected]   David Wells and other FTA personnel are available for interview.

Follow us on Twitter @newsfromfta and find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.

The Freight Transport Association can trace its origins back to 1889 and is recognised as the voice of the freight and logistics industry, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air.  FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – half the UK fleet – consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.

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