A set of proposals have been made by the rail industry for post-Brexit movement that will result in annual economic benefits from freight movement of £1.7 billion.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has published these wide-ranging proposals that will relieve uncertainty that businesses currently face regarding delays and lost revenue from the customs checks that will be required following Brexit.
As part of the recommendations made by the association that will ultimately benefit the rail industry, the introduction of new Railway Customs Areas (RCAs) at freight terminals have been proposed; the RDG believe these would greatly reduce or even remove the possibility of congestion at a single border checkpoint.
As it stands, the freight rail industry within the EU operates without customs declarations, though a site at either side of the Channel Tunnel is used for safety and security inspection purposes.
By converting a site based at Dollands Moor in Kent for customs, congestion would be increased, causing disruption, and therefore damaging businesses and their supply chains.
However, the RDG believe that with public and private sector investment in order to provide customs security measures at existing freight terminals, these RCAs could be creating, resulting in imports arriving without delays.
These would be crucial for a number of sectors within the UK industry, helping businesses move products, goods and services quickly and ensuring businesses remain confident.
The need for smooth movement has never been higher; last year, in excess of 2,000 trains transported over one million tonnes of freight, and with spare capacity currently through the Channel Tunnel for freight imports and exports, there are more business opportunities for the rail industry after Brexit.
The RDG will work alongside the government so that freight movement is efficient and disruption is avoided.
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Association, said: “Our proposals to create customs facilities at freight terminals support and complement the work ongoing in government for customs controls post-Brexit and will prevent unnecessary congestion on the railway and clear the way for smooth trade with our partners in Europe.”