UK Government Expects Big Impact on Ports from No-Deal Brexit


By The Maritime Executive 09-12-2019 09:57:29

The UK's parliament has forced the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to release planning documents showing the projected impact of a "no-deal" Brexit on the British economy and transport system, and the results show that administrators expect significant challenges - especially for trade at cross-Channel seaports. 

A copy of the study - a six page base-case scenario dubbed "Operation Yellowhammer" - was leaked to the media in August, but the full document is now available online. One bullet point is redacted, but the reporter who first publicized the document said Wednesday that it outlines possible impacts on the refining industry and a resulting 1-2 week disruption in fuel supplies for affected regions. 

The full document confirms that the UK government expects significant disruption to Britain's transport and trade links with continental Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The government's assumptions include:

- that businesses and exporters have a low level of readiness for Brexit, including the imposition of EU customs measures

- that up to 85 percent of cargo trucks bound for France at the Channel Straits would not be ready for French customs, leading to tailbacks and delays of 40-60 percent within one day

- ro/ro freight port performance at the Straits might improve to 50-70 percent of normal within three months as shippers get more prepared for customs checks. 

"In a reasonable worst case scenario, [trucks] could face maximum delays of 1.5-2.5 days before being able to cross the border," the document warns.