Brexit: airlift between Ostend and Birmingham
From Monday, British airline Jota Aviation, specializing in cargo transport, starts a new airlift between Ostend (Belgium) and Birmingham (UK). Both airports want to prevent possible interruptions or delays in the harbors due to Brexit. Jota Aviation will organize the flights together with its partner in logistics Priority Freight.
Since the Brexit, customs and border control impose additional administrative formalities, and transport in harbors and terminals may be delayed. However, some goods – medical products or food with short expiration dates – need to be transported rapidly and efficiently.
That is why Jota Aviation plans two daily flights from Birmingham to Ostend. And if necessary, capacity can easily be increased.
Not well prepared
However, the first days after the Brexit, there were no significant problems in harbors and terminals on both sides of the border. The harbor of Zeebrugge, for instance, was not highly productive, but activities will increase soon.
“As soon as all additional supply of the end-of-year celebrations has diminished and new food supplies have to be imported,” says Zeebrugge customs boss, Patrick Scheldeman in newspaper De Tijd. Zeebrugge’s activity level is expected to be back to ‘normal’ by the end of January.
Although Europe and the UK signed a trade agreement, many formalities changed, and for some companies, those changes still come as a surprise. Every transport to the UK now requires detailed documentation and separate invoicing. And those who are not well prepared will end up in traffic jams.
The port of Zeebrugge says to be ready for possible traffic congestion. Trucks on their way to the UK have to register on a new digital platform. When info is lacking, the authorities will know it in advance, and transport can be stopped in time.
Also, in the Netherlands, transport problems due to the new Brexit regulations remain limited for now. According to a spokesperson of sector organization Evofenedex, “until now, transport is going smoothly and without congestions.”
Goods also flowed smoothly across the Channel between Britain and France on January 4th, the first working day since the completion of Brexit last week. Nearly 3 000 trucks have passed through the Channel Tunnel from France to Britain since the UK left the EU customs union and the single market at midnight on December 31st, in the final act of its divorce from the EU.