The UK companies seeing the upside of Brexit


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The UK companies seeing the upside of Brexit

Despite the EU-UK trade deal bringing disruption and red tape, some of the UK companies seeing the upside of Brexit.

As many UK ports struggle with delays and falling trade after Brexit, in Liverpool Stephen Carr is hiring 150 dock workers. “We are at 80-90 per cent capacity at the moment and growing,” said Carr, the commercial director of Peel Ports, which counts Liverpool as one of its UK shipping hubs.

The Covid-19 pandemic and new border controls with the EU have upended business models across the continent and the economic impact is starting to be felt. Fish and meat have been left to rot because of delays and complicated paperwork. Many companies have stopped delivering to and from the UK because of increased charges.

Economists predict leaving the EU will reduce the UK’s prosperity but, amid the disruption, opportunities are available, argues Mark Gregory, UK chief economist of EY, the professional services firm. “Brexit is a process not an event and the winners and losers will only become clear over time and the UK companies will see the upside of Brexit.

Liverpool, the UK’s fifth biggest container port, in north-west England, is one of the early winners, gaining traffic from southern rivals as logistics companies try to avoid congestion at the busier Channel crossing points.

In recent months three new services into Liverpool have started, following investment of more than £400m. One brings unaccompanied containers from Santander in northern Spain weekly. “That would have driven through France and gone across the Channel before,” said Carr.

Another has won transatlantic freight trade, destined for northern England, from the congested southern port of Felixstowe. Rather than risk delays there, shippers load it on to a smaller vessel that stops at Liverpool.

The third is Liverpool’s first link with east Asia in decades. Shipping line CMA CGM stops in Dunkirk to offload containers and collect others from northern France and Belgium before heading to Liverpool.

Some EU retailers have also decided to hold more stock in the UK to ensure they can guarantee delivery times amid border delays. One UK logistics operator, who declined to be named, said it was opening warehouse space for EU clients.

Some manufacturers have reshaped their operations to make the most of the changing trading environment.

Inevitably, given the extra red tape and paperwork associated with the EU-UK deal agreed by the two sides on Christmas Eve, one big growth market is bureaucracy.

Source: BusinessFast