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April 18, 2018

How Will EU Ports Handle Brexit?


The Port of Rotterdam may be hit by unique conditions created by Brexit. This is only exacerbated by so much still being unknown about the conditions of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. There’s so much that hasn’t been hammered out regarding European shipping, with just over a year left before Brexit’s March 29, 2019 leave date.

 

Brexit’s Impact on European Shipping

 

Ports all over the EU are planning for the worst. They’re not preparing for a downturn in business per se. In many ways, Britain’s ports may be hit harder than some of the EU’s, and European countries have done a good job of building trade relations with Asia that can continue providing steady business. Nonetheless, the Netherlands are intricately connected with Britain, and may lose up to 1.2% of their GDP by 2030 because of Brexit.

 

Instead, it’s a matter of bureaucracy. Rotterdam is a good example because the port’s CEO, Allard Castelein, has been aggressive about preparing for a rush of confusion on the part of businesses that ship goods internationally. The Port of Rotterdam is considering hiring 100 extra customs agents, as well as many additional inspectors of fresh goods.

 

Not Enough Time to Prepare

 

One thing’s almost certain – ports with both entities will have under a year to adapt to new rules adopted between Britain and the EU. That’s really not very long for this kind of preparation. After Germany, Britain is the Netherlands’ second-largest trading partner. That business won’t disappear, but it will be subject to a host of new laws and regulations created by Brexit.

 

The biggest issue is that Britain’s exit will create new laws for importing from the EU and exporting to the EU. Many businesses in both countries have never had to fill out import/export documentation because of the EU’s unique trade regulations.

 

Maintaining Your Logistics through the Confusion

 

What holds true for Rotterdam holds true for many European mainland ports. New laws for importing from the EU and exporting to the EU will create an initial slowdown and backup in March of next year. This may last a long time as the entire economic relationship (and the according regulations) between Britain and so many EU countries shifts.

 

If you ship to or from Europe, rely on a contract logistics company for European shipping. This is your version of hiring an expert to get you through a confusing era in European shipping. Make sure your business is prepared for the delays that may be created and works with someone who can create alternate routes around them.