The trade association that truly represents the UK international freight services industry says that it welcomes some of the macro economic announcements in today’s UK Budget that will offer ongoing support to businesses in the freight and logistics sector that have been hit hard by the double-edged sword of EU Exit and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on announcements with specific relevance to the freight and logistics sector, Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said, “Our members will welcome the news that the freeze in fuel duty will remain. However, they would have preferred to see an outright cut, the introduction of an essential user rebate and some form of fuel duty stabilisation mechanism.”
In regards to the news that eight freeports would be introduced in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside, Keen added: “To date, BIFA has been indifferent to this proposed development, and queries whether freeports will provide new advantages compared to the existing Customs Special Procedures, which from 1 January 2021 no longer need a guarantee to operate.
“The additional £126 million announced for apprenticeships and the raising of the cash incentive for employers to £3,000 may help BIFA’s campaign to encourage companies to consider recruiting youngsters and enrolling them on the International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship, which BIFA helped to create in 2018.
“However, there was no mention of the issues facing the aviation sector in either the announcement of the roadmap out of recovery, nor the Budget. This is a concern because a recovery in the passenger sector with an increasing number of flights carrying belly hold cargo will be necessary to allow the air cargo sector to fully recover.”