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The FTA has asked for the government to extend the Brexit transition period as it believes the challenges posed by COVID-19 will make a smooth transition impossible .

In a statement, the FTA called for a reconsideration of the Brexit transition period as supply chains and logistics were facing ‘unprecedented challenges’ in the face of the pandemic.

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at FTA

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at FTA, said: “This is not about the relative merits of Brexit, or any trading arrangements which our industry will need to adopt.

“This is purely and simply so the businesses tasked with keeping the UK’s supply chain intact can concentrate on the serious issues which the COVID-19 pandemic is placing on the industry.

“Logistics is facing unprecedented challenges, both in terms of keeping the UK economy supplied with all the goods it needs to function, as well as coping with the increased disruption to staffing levels caused by sickness and self-isolation and concerns about the viability of their businesses.

“Our first priority is always to deliver for our customers, and there is simply not enough capacity available to plan the major structural changes needed to implement a successful departure from the EU, as well as the myriad of other planned legislation changes on the horizon, as well as dealing with unprecedented pressures caused by COVID-19.”

De Jong added that: “Logistics is a flexible industry, but such significant change cannot happen overnight, and there is simply not the capacity for planning and delivery of new legislation at present within the system.

“COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-lifetime emergency situation which needs the full attention of the whole sector – adding in a host of new legislation would place untold, unnecessary pressure on a supply chain that is already stretched. Our industry needs the support of government, not to be broken by it.”