A recent survey of members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has revealed that the majority of freight forwarders believe an extension to the Brexit transition period is desirable.

BIFA initially expressed its concerns in March over trade negotiations falling by the wayside as Covid-19 took hold, as HLPFI reported here. In April, the association described the UK government’s insistence that it will not ask to extend the 11-month transition period as a very risky move.

BIFA director general Robert Keen said: “It is a clear message to government that BIFA members and the clients that they serve have great reservations over whether they will have the capacity to handle the major changes to the UK’s trading relationship at the start of 2021, such as new Customs documentation and procedures.”

The survey revealed that 50 percent of respondents felt they would not have sufficient staff to undertake the additional Customs related work, and 60 percent expressed that they would not have time to train new recruits comprehensively.

Keen added: “We know that the government is capable of listening to advice from business. [The] announcement that workers within the haulage and freight industry are exempt from the government’s new measures concerning travellers entering the country resulted from much lobbying by BIFA amongst others.

“When 72 percent of the 400 BIFA member companies which completed the survey, and are actively involved day-to-day in managing the UK’s visible imports and exports, call for an extension of the transition period, we can only hope that the government will again be listening,” Keen added.