With the prospect of Britain reaching no deal with the European Union before Brexit as scheduled on 29 March, it’s hard to imagine there could be any bright spots for shippers and the logistics industry who have been busy poring over realms of changes to regulations about to take place. But one important regulatory area that is unlikely to be affected is the carriage of dangerous and hazardous goods.
This is because the rules governing these items generally fall outside individual countries or even trading blocs such as the EU but instead come under wider international conventions by IATA ( International Air Transport Association) or ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), or road and rail agreements such as the ADR ( the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road ) and RID (Dangerous Goods by Rail) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Robert Windsor, executive director of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said that hazardous cargo is governed by international conventions, and subsequently, there are no issues regarding post-Brexit European imports and exports.
For aviation, IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations will continue to apply, according to Caroline Raine, a consultant editor for the UK-based business advisory newsletter, Croner.i, The UK will also represent its own interests at the ICAO meetings, she added.
The provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code would continue to apply, and the UK will remain an independent state with its own membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), she added.
Two other agreements, the ADR and the RID, which cover the carriage of dangerous goods by road and rail, respectively, would also remain in place.
Meanwhile, a UK government report released partially on 26 February regarding the impact of a no-deal Brexit on business and trade warned that some food prices were likely to rise and customs checks “could cost business £13 b (US$14.8b) a year in a no-deal scenario”, the BBC reported, citing the report.
There was “little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest,” the government report added. It noted that the UK’s food supply – 30 per cent of which comes from the EU – would most likely be affected by delays in goods crossing the English Channel.
The official report noted that at this time of year, Britain was heavily reliant on Channel crossings for fresh fruit and vegetables.
“In the absence of other action from government, some food prices are likely to increase, and there is a risk that consumer behaviour could exacerbate, or create, shortages in this scenario.”
Windsor recommended that shippers could stay abreast of developments with the UK government’s “partnership pack” of advisories.