Brexit to deliver 'recalibration' of Humber logistics industry

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Feb 2019

BREXIT will bring with it a “recalibration” of logistics on the Humber, a senior industry figure has predicted.

Simon Dwyer, who worked for Fred Olsen before heading up Samskip’s UK operations, began his career processing customs forms on Port of Immingham.

Now running his own management consultancy focused on seafood and the supply chain, he was a guest speaker at a special Brexit seminar for the sector hosted by leading law firm Wilkin Chapman, having worked extensively on the issue since the referendum vote.

Mr Dwyer said: “I believe in this region there will be a recalibration of how logistics works. Goods arriving today with drivers from abroad in to the south of England, using Calais to Dover, destined for delivery in the Midlands, along the M62 corridor, this area and further north, will migrate and arrive in the Humber. The reason is, it is being driven by EU drivers, and these EU drivers might not want to come to this country. 

“The goods will be shipped unaccompanied. It that happens, the right place to ship to, with the right connectivity is the Humber.  That’s a positive message for businesses in the Humber. 

“Already ports and shipping lines are starting to future proof and invest in the Humber. Investment has been made in Hull, it is being made in Immingham, and port users are looking to get more land to store more cargo. It could be positive outcome for the Humber region and I have absolutely no doubt this will happen. More and more cargo will head out of the south in to the Humber region.” 

MORE: Immingham's role in ro-ro come a hard Brexit after £42m Government contract win

And a time-saving overhaul of one regular route he has championed for years may now bear fruit – or at least whitefish and salmon.

A week on from the managing director of Seachill’s warning of potential border delays hitting UK salmon supply - with the journey currently taking in four European countries on a long road haul between Norway and North East Lincolnshire - Mr Dwyer said: “A total of 30 trucks a week are heading into the UK from Norway. I don’t see that happening much longer.

ONE WAY, OUR WAY? The Humber is the best choice for unaccompanied shipments, according to Mr Dwyer.

"I was with businesses last week who send fish from Norway and they may now take advantage of a shipping route from Gothenberg, sending trucks from Norway to Sweden, put trailers on a ship to arrive in Immingham, where local hauliers will collect and deliver to the processor. It is something I have been advocating for years.”

It comes as a two-day port turnaround could stretch to five in a worst-case scenario with border check return.

Mr Dwyer urged companies to understand the DNA of their businesses, from logistics labour to who supplies suppliers, with contingencies and checks to ensure they remain in place come D-Day, be it the morning of March 30, or the end of a transition.  HE also flagged up cashflow awareness, duties to be paid and the actual supply model, with the logistics of dealing with a container, rather than a trailer, another consideration.

“While it is a pro for shipping and port companies there is a potential impact with senders," he added. "It is the normal practice for the seller to send, to ensure what you are paying for gets to you,but it may become a ‘you voted for it, you sort it’ scenario, where the supplier washes their hands of transportation issued and the whole thing flips on its head.”

IMMIGRATION specialist Calum Hanrahan has urged employers to get to know their workforce, and ensure settled status applications are filed promptly. 

The Wilkin Chapman solicitor said it was vital, with concessions for those deemed low-skilled post-Brexit - controversially below a £30,000 income - unlikely to appeal.

MORE: Chamber prepares Brexit support for businesses

Grimsby’s seafood processing sector and the wider hinterland’s agricultural basis relies on as much as 30 per cent EU labour.

Mr Hanrahan said: “There is a preferential visa route for low skilled labour, but it is only 12 months at a time, with a cooling off period were you cannot apply again for 12 months, and you cannot bring family.

“If you have EU nationals or EEA nationals, you want to be suggesting they apply for pre-settled status or settled status. Do all you can to secure their right to continue to live and work in the UK. You need to know your workforce, and if you don’t, you need to get to know your workforce.  I don’t think it has been advertised particularly well, and your employees may be oblivious to it. Don’t get to the end of the implementation period, when they have to leave the UK, and you have to fill a workforce fo 20, 30 or 40 per cent.”

The scheme will be fully open by the end of March, with a cut off of June 2021.

GRIMSBY’S Icelandic consul has told businesses we could learn a lot from his new affiliation.

Jonathan Goolden, pictured above, partner in Wilkin Chapman’s compliance and regulatory team, brought delegates up to speed with the latest legal position. 

And a nod to his recently adopted role, he said: “Iceland is a member of the EEA, the European Economic Area, EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, but not the EU. 

“The Government took a positive decision two or three years ago that it was not going to proceed to seek membership. We may have a lot to learn from the Nordic countries in the next few years, particularly states such as Iceland as we go on.”

Outlining the three possible outcomes, he described a short delay to Brexit as the “mood music of the day,” and said: “The clock is ticking and the default position if nothing is agreed is that we will leave on Match 29 with no deal. However, I think the most likely outcome is we will leave on March 29 with some form of a deal. Whether that’s all of Theresa May’s deal, some of it or all of it and a bit more, we will find out over the next few days and weeks.”

Of a delay, with a third of the Cabinet understood to back it, he said it would only be short due to the summer’s EU elections, with Britain - if still part of it -then obliged to return MEPs. He said the prospect of a People’s Vote was “quite low” as it would require a significant delay of Article 50, and agreement in Parliament and Brussels.

“What is far more likely is a delay of up to three months,” he said, holding up a copy of the current draft withdrawal agreement, and adding: “I hope, perhaps I pray, this will be the most likely outcome.”

It would allow trade agreements to then be negotiated, with transition terms where we abide by current EU rules until complete. 

Of this, he added: “I think there will be some disappointed fishermen. We will not get everything we expect, or every bit we hoped for, in terms of fishing rights.”

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