Dr Robyn Pyne, senior lecturer in logistics and maritime management at Liverpool John Moores University, says the port is well prepared for Brexit
Potential EU customs checks is a definite opportunity for the port of Liverpool, especially when faced with the question of Northern Ireland, as it is already very well set up for trade with countries outside of the EU.
Research carried out at Liverpool John Moores University into port operators’ marketing planning following the Brexit vote surveyed 35 port operators representing nearly 70% of UK ports.
There was no geographical correlation between perceptions of uncertainty related to Brexit and how this affected marketing and strategic planning for ports across the UK. The response is uncoordinated and sporadic depending on the port.
Liverpool’s strategy has long been to look west and to prepare itself for this trade by investing in the port, expanding container handling capacity, and a swathe of investment in equipment and technology to improve efficiency and customer service.
Trade with the west will require similar checks on EU goods being discussed (short-term or long-term) for goods entering from Northern Ireland.
In terms of Liverpool’s preparedness, this is not only a short term reaction to the current geo-political climate, so there is every confidence that they will be ready in time. It is likely that there will be a short-term increase in throughput as ports in the south and on the east coast are not as well-prepared and we will see diverted freight from ports without enough capacity to process the freight traffic and carry out the necessary checks required by the Brexit deal.
There are potentially a number of obstacles that stand in the way of these customs checks being an opportunity to compete long-term with east coast ports for freight from the EU.
The opportunity that is presented to Liverpool and Peel Ports is to demonstrate its ability to be a quality terminal operating company, with quality equipment, information systems and IT services in the port, and to get it right when it comes to customer focus.”