With Britain’s General Election right around the corner, we’re starting to look at what the future holds for the UK’s logistics firms. The only thing we know for sure is that it looks very different depending on whether Labour or the Conservatives end the week victorious.
With the results of the Election far from a foregone conclusion, we have done a little research – and even more gazing into our crystal ball – to work out how UK logistics would fare under the control of May, Corbyn or one of their opponents.
Fastlane’s own David Jinks MILT, says: ‘Looking at each of the major parties’ manifestos and election promises, which party wins could have a major impact on the logistics and courier industries.’
If the Conservatives win:
The Conservatives have made it clear that they will pursue a hard Brexit if they win the Election, a move that could have serious consequences for British Logistics firms. The potential for strong tariffs and Custom’s red tape in the case of a hard Brexit could be devastating for the UK’s trade with the EU. A strong win in the General Election is expected to strengthen Theresa May’s position in Brexit negotiations with Europe as well as her stance within her own party, but are unlikely to mean that Britain does not face new duties and delays in trade with the European Union.
Despite reassurances about the “deep and special partnership” between Britain and the EU, stating that “no deal is better than a bad deal” in the Conservative manifesto will leave many UK transport and logistics companies concerned. However, the Conservatives have also promised to invest £40bn in improvements to transport infrastructure, which would help many delivery companies lower costs. In international terms, a pledge to expand Heathrow would help improve the efficiency of international courier services routed through Britain’s largest airport – especially through the Freight services that it currently provides.
If Labour wins:
The talk from Labour has been predominantly based around a “strong emphasis” on remaining a part of the Customs Union and staying in the single market. This is good news for freight and courier services, as continuing as a part of the Customs Union would mean that the lack of duties on shipments to and from the EU would continue. This would also mean no border checks on parcels, which would lead to continued next day services throughout the EU.
On the other hand, Labour’s plans to bring a new clean air act into legislation could prove expensive for the logistics industry, which relies on diesel trucks to deliver parcels throughout the UK. With the legislation set to target diesel fumes in particular, couriers may be forced into making expensive changes. And the pledge from Labour to re-nationalise the Royal Mail could also shake up the UK parcel market – just when many parcel firms are forced to change their operations thanks to Brexit or clean air legislation.
If other parties claim a surprise victory:
For those who aren’t pleased at the prospects of Brexit, the Liberal-Democrats will hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal, including an option to remain in the EU – good news for courier firms throughout the EU. However, local couriers could fall afoul of plans to extend ultra-low emission zones to 10 more towns in cities throughout the UK.
The SNP plan to invest in new roads, good news for UK logistics operators. Plans to drive down carbon emissions could be problematic for smaller transport companies who can’t afford to replace their whole fleets.
Plaid Cymru’s promise to ‘ensure Wales can continue to buy and sell to Europe without costly barriers’ will be welcomed by exporters and transport providers alike, who are fearing duties and delays on international trade.
Whichever party emerges victorious, it’s clear that Britain’s logistical services are unlikely to continue on without change. All parties are pledging changes, and many of those changes have the potential impact heavily on the parcel and freight industries.
David has this to say: “The UK’s growing road freight market alone is a £27bn industry employing over 210,000 people, and it to be hoped that, whatever colour Government we have after June 8th, they will keep in mind the importance of our freight, parcels and export markets.”