Logistics UK is warning that any attempt by the government to negate parts of the EU Withdrawal Agreement will have severe consequences for UK supply chains.

The call came as the RHA criticised the lack of “energy” being exercised by government departments to prepare traders for the UK’s exit from the EU on 1 January next year.

Alex Veitch, Logistics UK public policy general manager said: “Logistics UK is concerned about reports that the UK government may jeopardise British business’ ability to keep Britain trading by negating key elements of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, which could put any further negotiations with the European Union at risk.

“With only 16 weeks remaining until the end of the transition period for the UK’s departure from the EU, this would have severe consequences for UK supply chains, leaving very limited time for the logistics industry to react and prepare to new trading conditions, especially as the industry is approaching its Christmas trading peak.”

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He added that Logistics UK “is adamant that a free trade agreement should still be the priority for negotiators to ensure that the movement of goods to and from Europe can continue with as few limitations as possible, to keep Britain trading effectively with its closest and largest trading partners”.

In an interview with LBC radio this week, Rod Mckenzie RHA MD of policy, said: “We know that deal or no deal there will be a whole lot of systems and procedures we will have to go through for exporting and importing goods - the government has explained that in fairness in the 200-page document they issued about a month ago.

“Our problem with it is that not enough energy is being put into explaining this to people and in dealing with the holes in the plan - and there are holes in the plan - and making sure traders understand what needs to be done. In other words we lack clarity.”