FedEx and ParcelHero: ‘Brexmas’ crisis averted…

With Brexit having been delayed – again – shippers and supply chains operating between the UK and Europe are expressing relief at the avoidance of a no-deal crash-out in the run-up to Christmas.

Air Cargo Netherlands (the Dutch air freight industry association) commented: “The last few weeks have been turbulent with regard to the Brexit. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seemed to have concluded a deal with the EU leaders in time for the deadline of October 31, 2019, which was also supported by the majority of his parliament.

“However, he did not get permission for the accelerated debate to discuss the entire legislation surrounding the deal. That made a Brexit deal impossible on 31 October 2019, so he had to ask the European Union for a postponement again.

“The EU has given that delay; this time until January 31, 2020. This gives Boris Johnson time to guide his Brexit legislation through the current parliament or, which is more likely to hold elections early December and to take his chances with a new parliament.”

FedEx senior vice president ground operations Europe and Brexit lead Trevor Hoyle praised the recent progress of the Brexit negotiations and urged continued effort on the issue. He said: “As an enabler of global trade, FedEx has advocated for a Brexit deal that avoids creating new barriers, streamlines customs processes, maintains regulatory cooperation and makes it as easy as possible for businesses to bring their ideas and products to the global market.

“We therefore welcome the efforts made by the UK and EU to reach a withdrawal agreement, and hope that all sides will now use the Brexit deadline extension to finalise an agreement and provide clarity and continuity for businesses.

“Our Brexit planning team will monitor the situation in the comings weeks and months, and we will continue to support our customers to prepare for whatever the future holds,” he added.

In the short term, that means gearing up for the busy Christmas season, while Brexit is kept on the back burner until January 31, 2020.

David Jinks, head of consumer research at international delivery company ParcelHero, said: “Retailers, manufacturers and anyone intending to send a parcel had been bracing themselves for Christmas chaos. The prospect of new Customs checks and paperwork, combined with tariffs on UK goods entering the EU, had been looming over Christmas like the spirit of Scrooge. But now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted the EU’s offer to extend the Brexit deadline until 31 January, guaranteeing a Brexit-free Christmas.

“A Brexit deal can still be approved before 31 [January] under the EU ‘flextension’, but there can’t be a no-deal crash-out.’’

Jinks went on: “A November 1 no-deal Brexit would have been a terrible outcome for businesses large and small, coming as it would have done slap-bang at the beginning of Christmas peak. It’s hard to believe we could come so close to the imposition of new red tape and duties on our exports to the EU just before Christmas. This would have precipitated a crisis in warehousing space as Brexit stockpiling and Christmas distribution collided.”

Of course: “There could be new January jitters if the election [on December 12] fails to resolve things, but for this festive season, it’s business as normal,” Jinks concluded.

Air Cargo Netherlands warned its members that the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on January 31 is small but still present, and urged them to continue to prepare for any scenario.

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