Aberdeen harbour engineer loading a truck

Transport and logistics - Top things to consider

While the future EU/UK relationship is still being negotiated, there are actions you should be taking now to reduce risk to transport and logistics. These will ensure your goods get to market and you get the imports your business needs to operate. 

Access latest information in the GOV.UK Haulier Handbook

1. Consider alternative transport routes to/from the EU27

Regardless of the outcome of the current trade deal negotiations with the UK Government and the EU, the UK will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU.

There remains the possibility that logistical issues will be experienced at the short strait crossing at Dover, with perishable and 'just in time' deliveries likely to be most affected.

There is capacity in the freight system in Scotland, so if delays at the Channel crossings arise then it might be possible to avoid these by re-routing or moving from roll on roll off, to container-based shipping. Your logistics provider will be able to advise you.

Further guidance

GOV.UK guidance on carrying out international road haulage from 1 January 2021

GOV.UK guidance on moving goods under the Northern Ireland protocol 

Access the list of sites from which hauliers and HGV drivers can get advice on transporting goods to the EU after 1 January 2021

Key trade associations

Logistics UK

Road Haulage Association

2. Review your supply chain, particularly if you have European suppliers

Do your supplies come through Dover or other ports that might be affected by congestion?

Are there alternative routes or sources of supply that you could use?

Have you considered sourcing from within the UK or shipping directly into Scottish ports or airports?

Further details on supply chain mapping 

3. Consider the impact delays might have on your cashflow

Adjust financial forecasts if needed. Speak to your bank or other lender now if you need to discuss more flexible borrowing arrangements.

4. Keep up to date with changes to export/import documentation and permit requirements

The UK Government has provided advice on transporting goods out of the UK by road.  This covers issues including operator licenses, permits and export documents.   

On 8 October 2020 the UK Government published its Border Operating Model, a guide to how the border with the EU will work after the transition period. This provides detail of the aforementioned documentation and checks.