Supply Chain

Brexit transport checklist


Supply chains are likely to be heavily impacted by Brexit. Early preparation is key to ensuring that your business is ready to deal with any supply chain problems that could result.

Brexit is likely to impact (a) exporters to the EU, including export markets covered by preferential EU trade deals and (b) exporters to and importers into the UK market. We have developed this simple checklist to help you to manage the potential challenges ahead:

  1. Thoroughly map and audit supply chains – specifically lead times
  2. Audit international contracts – specifically agency and distribution agreements and liability for damages and penalties
  3. Review internal skills and understanding for dealing with documentation relating to import and export – International Cooperation (INCO) terms, Certificate of Origin, Bill of Lading, etc.
  4. Review and update International Certifications, including driving licences, environmental, health and safety, Registration Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACh).
  5. Audit third-party providers – freight forwarders, road/rail/sea transporters – for their Brexit understanding and plans
  6. Identify and prioritise key business interruption risks
  7. Develop a ‘live’ contingency plan and regular update programme

HMG’s guidance on moving goods to and from the EU through roll on roll off ports or the Channel Tunnel can be found here.

HMG has issued letters on ‘no deal’ Brexit advice for businesses only trading with the EU, which can be found here.

HMRC Partnership Pack’ on preparing for a No Deal Brexit
This was first issued in October 2018 and has since been continuously updated, and can be found by clicking here.

This government research briefing, originally produced in mid-2017, summarises the key issues that need to be considered for the main forms of transport, namely: aviation, rail, road and sea.

This report from the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee highlights some of the practical concerns around UK borders post-Brexit. One key issue is the need to invest in additional infrastructure to accommodate the strains at UK borders post-Brexit. It expects a five-fold increase in customs declarations at UK borders – from 50 million today to 400 million. Importers and exporters, therefore, need to understand how this may impact their supply chain. There is a worrying potential for it to cause major delays at UK borders. This could cause serious problems for those transporting vital raw materials and intermediates.

This UK government analysis of UK port movements highlights the areas that are most vulnerable to significant delays. Businesses must prepare for delays if more Customs checks and declarations are required. You might want to consider alternative routes as part of your scenario planning to avoid the most congested ports.


The future of the border between Southern and Northern Ireland is the subject of intense scrutiny and negotiation. This article from the Institute of International and European Affairs gives a valuable insight into the importance of access to the northern Irish ports for exporters from Southern Ireland.