By Neal Williams, Group Managing Director at Priority Freight.
The country is on a tipping point for growth and success. The new Prime Minister has promised to make a 'success' of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union (EU) – but, as yet, we haven't agreed what success looks like.
Understandably, this uncertainty is a concern for many. Take the UK automotive industry as an example – the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders surveyed its members again recently, and 57% believed Brexit would have a negative impact on their business. The biggest concern was the potential negative impact of tariffs, custom charges and other barriers between the UK and the EU single market.
But, rather encouragingly, we've also seen some top auto executives taking a more positive tone when discussing the potential impact of Brexit. Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault-Nissan, said that he's 'reasonably optimistic' that 'common sense will prevail on both sides'.
Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar Land Rover's group strategy director, echoed the sentiment, stating that the company is keeping a 'cool head' while having confidence that 'common sense, in a common operating model, will prevail'. He also went on to say that there was no 'Brexit-driven' need to change the company's employment policy.
These are encouraging comments from people at the top of the decision-making tree. There is a lot of uncertainty right now, but it's in everyone's interests to make Brexit work – whether that's through continued access to the single market or renegotiated trade deals.
As a time-critical transport solutions provider, Priority Freight has, over the past 20 years, maintained very productive relationships with supply chain partners and customers throughout the EU. If we do leave the single market – which looks certain to require the negotiation of new trade deals among 36 European countries – it is likely that some businesses will reassess their supply chains and partners.
Regardless, Priority Freight will continue to work very actively within the EU and the rest of the world, delivering first-class transport and logistics solutions. In fact, we've just set up a new dedicated emergency air freight department at our office in Germany to better serve our global customer base.
British businesses should make use of the time at hand before a formal departure from the EU takes place. Preparing for the challenges that lay ahead and working closely with current and potential business partners will be imperative for weathering the current economic storm.
What we know for sure is that international trade will continue regardless of Brexit. Moreover, there will always be demand for secure and speedy movement of goods – perhaps more so as companies get to grips with managing complicated and unfamiliar customs procedures.
As long as such demand continues, and common sense prevails, there's every reason to be optimistic about the future.