In response to the House of Commons vote in the UK, during which the government’s Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by a historic margin, Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, has emphasised the importance of open markets.
“The House of Commons has made a historic decision which we need to respect,” he said, after the Government lost to the largest margin in 94 years. “Kuehne + Nagel is committed to global free trade in principle, which ensures prosperity for everyone. So from our perspective, ‘No Brexit’ would be the preferred solution, since any form of Brexit is bound to increase trade barriers.”
Not since efforts began to introduce universal suffrage in the 1920s has there been such discord in the British parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated over the last two years, was roundly rejected, but without any alternative options on the table.
Political commentators have said that the prospect of a ‘hard Brexit’ – the leaving of the EU without any agreement on trade or customs – is now more likely.
“A disorderly Brexit is the worst solution,” said Trefzger. “It will impose massive restrictions on the exchange of goods between the European Union and the United Kingdom. We appeal to the responsible bodies in London and Brussels to do the utmost to prevent this scenario. As far as we are concerned, we are focussed on ensuring the constant flow of goods for our customers.”
Kuehne + Nagel has insisted that it has contingencies in place to ensure the smooth flow of goods, but has not released details of those plans.
“Kuehne + Nagel has engaged customers and own industry experts over the past years to assess all possible impacts,” the logistics company said in a statement. “In order to cope with the effects of a disorderly Brexit, Kuehne + Nagel has taken steps to review all options to secure capacity on trade routes with Europe outside of the Kent corridor, both by sea and air. Moreover, the company has commenced recruitment of additional customs clerks.”
Kuehne + Nagel was asked to participate in the UK Government Cross Border Steering Group and said it will use this opportunity to define sustainable solutions as the set of Brexit conditions becomes clearer.