Just how disruptive will Brexit be to ecommerce?

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The UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) has made a statement about Brexit “reminding MPs that forming a customs union with the EU would not remove the need for checks at the borders or deliver frictionless arrangements on its own”.

At the moment, the topics of key concern in the Brexit negotiations are looking at the customs union, and its replacement (possibly in the form of a customs partnership, although how that would work precisely is unclear), and also the future arrangements for the Irish border. There is no clarity yet but both are issues that are of direct importance to ecommerce. The details of the deal here could very well have an everyday impact on your ecommerce enterprise. And a ‘no deal’ so-called hard Brexit scenario could be close to catastrophic.

The FTA is obviously an organisation that is focussed on moving goods across borders and their concern is well informed. Basically, there is still no clarity on what might happen when it comes to moving goods from the UK into the EU post Brexit. But the FTA expects that even with a good deal, there is going to be more paperwork and possible delays when shipping overseas.

Leaving the EU Customs Union and single market has big consequences for supply chains and the continuity of the UK’s European trade. Leaving the Customs Union is only one part of the story, and a customs union on its own would not remove the need for checks at the borders or provide frictionless trade for businesses. Ending of all the single market arrangements could cause even bigger delays, disruptions to integrated supply chains and barriers to trade. Leaving the single market would mean new checks on food safety or product conformity needing to be made at the EU border, unless less intrusive arrangements can be negotiated and implemented in time.
– James Hookham, FTA Deputy Chief Executive

When shipping to the EU right now the UK has a seamless system: that’s the joy of the single market and the free movement of goods. It’s just as easy to send something to Rotherham as it is to Rome. But even a good deal with the EU on customs looks likely to mean more paperwork for ecommerce merchants. We watch and wait.


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