Cabinet meeting

Grant Shapps has replaced Chris Grayling as Secretary of State for Transport as part of newly installed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

Shapps was most recently Minister for State for International Development, having been chairman of the Conservative Party before this.

He replaces Grayling after a difficult period that saw the Public Accounts Committee accuse the DfT of failing road transport over Brexit, and UK based international hauliers attacking the allocation process for ECMT permits.

There was also the costly Seaborne Freight ferry contingency embarrassment.

It came as both the RHA and FTA warned that road transport was not ready for Brexit, and certainly not a no-deal situation on the 31 October.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, called on Shapps to work closely with the UK haulage industry making every effort to ensure that businesses are Brexit-ready.

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He said that firms are still in the dark over the new processes they’ll be expected to work with amid concerns that red tape and inadequate infrastructure will lead to chaos at ports.

“The economy relies on goods moving freely across our borders but up to now we’ve seen no evidence that the government has the systems or support for firms in place to maintain that flow.

“It’s now make or break for the many thousands of UK haulage operators, responsible for moving 98% of the economy,” he said.

James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the FTA, said: “FTA has worked closely with government over the past three years to develop contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

“We remain hugely concerned at the fragility of these plans and the state of readiness of traders, carriers and agencies on both sides of the border to implement them flawlessly as early as 31 October.

“We are however encouraging our members to prepare for all eventualities, but in order to do so, they need urgent action from government, starting with the extension of easements previously conceded for 29 March, some of which will have expired before 31 October."

Photo: PA Images