It is a foregone conclusion that no fleet manager in the UK can afford to sit back and simply wait for the effects of a Brexit deal or no deal to take effect. The ability to go into the future with any degree of confidence requires agility and the willingness to put some cautionary pre-emptive measures in place.
Experts continue to urge the haulage industry to prepare for every possible scenario, which is sound advice, considering the uncertainty around the details of Brexit. But even an extension to the October 31 deadline won’t eliminate the potential of a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU, so we need to be prepared for every eventuality.
Time to ‘Get Ready’
No matter which way the decision goes, there are going to be ramifications across the industry, and wise fleet managers are making preparations for a range of scenarios. The government has kicked in with a £100 million publicity campaign encouraging businesses to ‘Get Ready’ for Brexit. The campaign spells out advice for businesses and individuals who stand to be affected by a departure from the EU. The substantial investment the government has sunk into the campaign is a clear indication of their determination to follow through on their decision, so the word to the wise is heed their advice or risk the consequences.
Prepare to Proceed – Whatever the Direction
While it may be a pretty tall order in the current unpredictable political climate, the only way in which a fleet manager can maximise the chances of seamless continuity and reduce the impact on their business is by putting strategies into place before they’re needed. This entails looking at every operational aspect of a business and making viable contingency plans.
First and foremost is to become entirely familiar (and this includes drivers on the ground as well as management) with all the appropriate documentation that will/may be required to drive in Europe – including a GB sticker, an insurance Green Card and an International Driving Permit – and ensure they are in place for every employee and vehicle (including sub-contractors).
Fleet managers also need to be aware of how potential traffic issues around the larger ports (such as Dover and Calais) are going to affect their operations and supply chain, in terms of downtime and delays due to congestion.
There are also potential changes around pricing: a ‘no-deal’ exit will almost certainly result in price rises and new tariffs across the industry in terms of EU-manufactured vehicles and parts, as well as increased lead times.
Ultimately, the smart advice to fleet managers and individuals is to focus on the issues we can control and make preparations for those we can’t, so that, no matter what the result, the UK haulage industry has the best possible chance of making the inevitable transition in tact.
For some practical suggestions and checklists fleet managers might want to check out the RHA’s series of seminars and webinars to help those involved in the transport and delivery industries prepare themselves to weather the storm.
Author: Luke Davies is Head of Sales at Courier Exchange and Haulage Exchange (part of Transport Exchange Group).