Brexit to cause big complications to Czech road hauliers

Brexit will cause a considerable drop in the number of contracts for Czech road hauliers and will complicate goods transport to Great Britain, Jaroslav Hanak, head of the Confederation of Industry, told CTK.

Some hauliers might even stop transporting goods to Great Britain, said Hanak, co-owner of FTL Prostejov transport company.

Brexit is scheduled for March 29 but its form stays unclear. It is also uncertain if Britain will leave the EU at the end of March.

"I have a deep feeling of unease (about what is going to happen)," Hanak said.

"The volume of trade between Czechia and Britain will decline (because of Brexit)," he said. Britain is the fifth largest export partner and the biggest export destination with which Czechia does not share a common border, he added.

From a point of view of bilateral trade, a no-deal Brexit would mean return to a period before the country's EU entry (in 2004), Hanak said mentioning queues at the border, visas, and possible customs duties.

Costs will go up and a number of firms may reconsider their haulage plans on the British market, said Hanak.

In freight transport, Brexit will raise prices of deals in Great Britain, and as a result the number of contracts may go down owing to expected long queues at borders. Czech hauliers also fear possible security risks at the borders, Martin Felix, spokesman for the hauliers association, told CTK.

Data from the Transport Ministry showed that road hauliers carried over 331,000 tonnes of goods between the two countries in 2017.

The automotive segment may be largely affected by Brexit, as it is a major exporter to Great Britain.

Thanks to a Czech-British road traffic agreement, which was signed in 1998 and took effect in 2004, lorry and bus operators should have no problem entering the British market, said the association. In case of a no-deal Brexit, however, a risk exists that the agreement might be challenged.

Direct Czech exports to Great Britain reach Kc210bn a year, which is about 5 percent of the country's exports or 4 percent of its GDP. Goods worth Kc120bn are exported to the market via other major Czech trading partners.

Source: CTK

Tereza Řezníčková
section Aktuálně