Brexit’s Effect on Logistics: Old, Expensive Food

Britain grows just over half of the food its citizens eat, and most of it comes from the other 27 European countries. In a post-Brexit world, Brits may find themselves paying more for food that has taken longer to move from the farm to their table.

Prior to the establishment of the EU, each country crossing between EU countries required a customs clearance, both for people and cargo. With the advent of the EU, the service companies that facilitated the customs entry process were no longer needed. Also, the government customs and immigration agencies were no longer needed for intra-Europe trade. This now has to be rebuilt. The cost for EU products to the United Kingdom will increase to cover the new expense of customs clearance. This extra link in the supply chain will add days to the transit time.

I remember living in West Berlin in the mid-1980s. One summer journey took me from West Germany to Holland, France, Spain and Portugal. Each border crossing was a true crossing, complete with passport review by immigration officers for me, and customs officers for cargo. Contrast that with a trip just last month. I drove through 6 EU countries and only had to slow down to read the “Welcome to Italy” sign! The cost of rebuilding and operating cross-border trade between Britain and the other 27 EU countries will increase the price of these items. And the delay in border crossings will increase transit time.

This is just one of the many issues facing Britain as it removes itself from the EU. Every EU trade agreement will have to remove Britain, and then Britain will need its own trade agreement, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).

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