One recent event that has sent shockwaves through the road haulage industry is the vote to leave the EU. Brexit divided block haulage firms, with pre-vote surveys showing that the vast majority of larger providers wanted to remain in the union and smaller providers around Buckinghamshire and the wider UK wanted to leave it. When asked for reasons, most larger firms cited the impact that a breakdown in EU-UK trade relations might have upon the road haulage sector, while smaller firms generally citied wider political reasons rather than anything relating to brick haulage. Now the vote is over and done with, our block haulage company has a lot to be on the lookout for, and on this page we’ve run through just a few things that could end up impacting British road haulage.
Import & Export
When around 44% of all UK exports make their way over to EU nations, there’s rightfully a lot of concern about whether or not we’ll be able to broker a new and fair trade deal. While our block haulage company makes a lot of journeys throughout Buckinghamshire and the UK in general, we also regularly head overseas to deliver quantities of building materials. As such, if trade between EU nations and the UK falls off significantly, the road haulage sector could face significant problems.
One slightly worrying thing is the pre-vote argument for shifting the emphasis from trade with Europe, to trade with Canada, America and other non-EU powerhouses. While this is surely great news for certain sectors, brick haulage companies will struggle to carve a niche here. Crossing to Europe is a simple and easy process, compared with making a trip to America in a heavy goods vehicle!
Many a block haulage company around Buckinghamshire and wider Britain employs drivers who are here thanks to the EU freedom of movement legislation. These rules allow EU citizens to work in the UK, more or less no strings attached. If a full-on Brexit sees these rules removed, which seems likely at this point, certain players in the road haulage industry may struggle to recruit enough quality drivers (and potentially loose a large chunk of their existing workforce).
This will mean that brick haulage providers will have to invest time and money in training and developing UK drivers. As there’s somewhat of a lack of interest in road haulage amongst our youth, it may mean we need to work to create a healthier perception of the block haulage industry among young people considering where to launch a career.
Post-Brexit, border controls are expected to get a lot tighter. Even if we do broker a good trade deal with the EU, it’s going to take our vehicles longer to get where they’re going. Adjustments will need to be made, and time saved in any other area we can manage. Increased border security is less of a concern to road haulage providers around Buckinghamshire and the UK than the possibility of a huge down spike in EU-UK trade, but it’s a concern nonetheless. Reduced efficiencies in any business are problematic.
There are two impacts that Brexit will probably have upon the operating costs of a British block haulage company. The first is the likelihood of a trade tariff being imposed on exporters, which may be passed on to third-party providers. The second is the effect that the huge fall in the value of the pound will have on fuel costs (which will be more expensive in real terms). However, fuel costs are going to be more significantly influenced by global oil prices, which Brexit won’t affect. Brick haulage companies around Buckinghamshire that have tight margins will have to consider the impact that these cost factors might have on their business model, and make allowances or adjustments to their projections accordingly.
While it’s predicted that Brexit is unlikely to radically change any aspect of the UK’s current road safety and transport laws, there’s still the possibility that minor changes to regulations will occur in the years following. Therefore, it’s important for road haulage providers all around Buckinghamshire and the UK to keep their fingers on the pulse of current affairs, and make their voices heard should MPs decide to change or introduce legislation that would impact our business.