Brexit – business as usual or disruption
Both citizens and businesses across Europe are currently asking themselves, what does Brexit mean to me?
As a ferry and logistics operator with many activities and 2200 employees in the UK, DFDS is at the heart of the ongoing process of the UK’s vote to leave the EU and an ‘early indicator’ of changes in trade and passenger movements. First, it is important to note that any changes to for example trade tariffs will not take effect for at least two years and maybe longer. The same goes for changes to conditions for foreign nationals working in the UK and the EU.
“We also discuss our experiences and expectations from the Brexit situation with customers. In general, our joint view is that so far, we have seen no or very limited effect of Brexit on trade. Neither do we foresee any major decline of trade in the near future. Recently, the Bank of England adjusted their growth expectations upwards to 2% in 2017, and our experience is that when the economy grows then freight volumes will also grow,” says Eddie Green, Executive Vice President and Head of DFDS’ logistics division.
“There are also still some uncertainties as to when a Brexit will actually occur. Although the British Prime Minister has set a deadline of 31 March 2017 to invoke Article 50 and commence Brexit negotiations, it is not expected that the UK will leave the EU for at least two years and negotiations on the finer details could take longer. In addition to this, we support the view that in reality, everyone is benefitting from trade, and therefore we believe that all political groups and nations will share an interest in protecting and stimulating trade,” he says.
So far, the major change caused by the Brexit vote has been a depreciation of the British pound. This has impacted some trade flows, but not overall volumes. The impact has been more noticeable on the passenger side as it has become more expensive for UK citizens to travel abroad while London has seen a rise in tourists on shopping sprees.