Now that Brexit is here, our Commercial Director Stephen Carr looks at what’s next for Peel Ports, our customers and the wider business community.
‘We are where we are’ is a saying often heard in meetings and is perhaps particularly apt for the situation we find ourselves in on Brexit day. Whether you support our departure from the EU or not, it is happening now and all we can do is look forward to how to ensure our economy thrives in a new trading environment.
It’s completely understandable that much of the commentary surrounding Brexit so far has focussed on risks and potential disadvantages. Indeed, it’s highly prudent to have considered what the problems might be and to put in place mitigation measures. Many questions remain unanswered and perhaps will do for some time.
But, whilst there are risks and threats to manage, there are also opportunities for businesses across the UK to take advantage of. Peel Ports have carefully considered those opportunities for our customers and partners, by taking measured steps to be prepared for all eventualities. Our Liverpool2 container terminal – a recent investment that pre-dates Brexit – is ideally located to efficiently link businesses in northern Britain and Ireland with countries that we may do future trade deals with; like the US, Canada, China or India.
To take just one example, Soya and Corn imported from North America are crucial to the food manufacturing and processing sector in the UK, with many major processing businesses located in the North West. The Port of Liverpool currently handles around 50% of the UK’s imported grains from the US, providing the UK with a continuous supply of vital food ingredients.
The topic of Free trade and the Northern Irish border has been a key discussion point during the Brexit debate. Whilst we don’t know for sure what developments the Government will bring, Liverpool, at the heart of our Irish Sea Hub operation and with existing border control capabilities, must be part of the answer.
It does appear that the UK’s biggest challenge, is not knowing what will be. One thing for certain is that Brexit hasn’t stopped decisions being made. What businesses across the UK need most is a well-prepared Supply and Logistics partner, geared to keep their own operations fluid.
Our portfolio of solutions stretches not only from import and export, but across containers, rail freight, infrastructure, transport, charter and storage. Importantly, Peel Ports became accredited last year with the internationally recognised quality mark of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) at most of our principal ports, affirming our efficient and robust processes to customers worldwide – and giving assurance in an uncertain time.
It is necessary that we are focused on the opportunities that Brexit presents and how we can collectively benefit from them. As a responsible business, with the objective to help our customers thrive, we can do nothing else.
Will we be developing new or stronger trading relationships with other markets?
Could this change be a catalyst for new ways of working?
Can the UK strengthen its advantage in key export sectors, such as maritime goods and services?
These questions remain to be answered, but we are already asking them.
And despite the challenges ahead, we are prepared – and excited - for what a post-Brexit world will bring.
You can view Stephen’s interview with the BBC on iPlayer HERE (1hr 03m in)