Transport industry representatives are warning of chaos on the UK’s roads 'the likes of which we've never seen' if a suitable Brexit trade deal isn’t negotiated. 

The government is now more than six months into a two-year notice period to leave the European Union with no meaningful progress having been made, and the Road Haulage Association’s chief executive Richard Burnett told a gather of MPs in parliament recently that ministers were not doing enough to consult the haulage industry and avoid problems. 

‘Maintaining efficient movements across the UK/EU borders post-Brexit is in everyone’s interest,’ Burnett told politicians. ‘Why? Because this is the most challenging task the supply chain has ever faced and we have to get It right – first time. Get it wrong and the result will be the permanent imposition of Operation Stack scenarios on the roads to all ferry ports.’

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Operation Stack is an operational scenario used by Kent police when there are problems at Dover and Ramsgate ferry ports, most recently and memorably in 2015 when French workers on the other side of the Channel went on strike. Problems lasted for weeks, and at one point there was a 30-mile queue of lorries on the M20 – the cost to the UK’s economy of the issue was estimated at around £250m. 

At the heart of issues to be discussed around Brexit is the trading relationship between the UK and the rest of the European Union. Foreign car makers with factories in the country have already started to cut jobs and costs in anticipation of problems when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.