Rene Falch Olesen is member of DKUK’s Board of Directors. He is also Group Chief Commercial Officer for DSV A/S – Premier Member of DKUK, and prior to the Association's formation last year, a long term member of The Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce. He recently gave a presentation to a joint German-British Danish-UK meeting with an update on how he and DSV see the UK’s current state of affairs in relation to the EU. We invited him to sum up that presentation and share his own views in this month’s editorial.

 

When asked to speak on Brexit at a recent event organised at Gowling LLP by DKUK Association and the DEUK Chamber of Commerce I couldn’t resist the temptation. The day after the Brexit vote I jokingly put a ‘for sale’ sign in my front garden. Now, a good two years down the line I wish I had kept it there.

Preparing for a presentation on a subject most of us have limited knowledge and massive opinions about, and a subject that constantly takes a new direction and shows a new side, you suddenly realise the complexity of the situation. And you definitely realise how much waste is going into this process with potentially no impact or benefit when we know the end state. I cannot help but compare it to the Y2K bug that had us all occupied up to the Millenium and then the day after wasn’t really mentioned as the impact was miniscule at best.

Did all who voted for Brexit really know what they did and didn’t vote for? Or did we actually all vote (oh, by the way I didn’t have a vote) based on subjects close to our heart rather than for the overall best for the country? I personally believe that all voted for a fraction of what this actually is about, and mainly for personal benefits. 

When I look at what is at stake from an logistics perspective I can only say that a hard Brexit will be an absolute disaster and one that we should all be keen to avoid. No one will benefit from increased trade barriers especially if these come with the high price of customs check on the crossings between EU and UK. If that happens it will have significant negative impact on the overall transit times between the UK market and our partners in EU. Combine this with a current lack of lorry drivers and you will be faced with capacity moving away from a UK at standstill to other markets. We are naturally urging customers to prepare for the worst, but the cost to businesses to do so in terms of holding higher stocks in the local market is not only very high, but we also there have an issue of available capacity to hold this stock. We cannot simply blow up a warehouse and then deflate them in case we don’t need the capacity come March 30 2019.  

The discussions at the event were great and the opinions varied. I am a firm believer that globalisation should always prevail over national interests. I keep hearing that EU laws are holding us back, however I am yet to hear many who can point to specific laws and also fail to understand why laws appear to hold UK’s export back when other countries playing by the same rules do not appear to have the same problem. Surely we simply have to improve our competitiveness and then harvest the potential from the vast markets with which we already have established trade agreements. The issue of Northern Ireland and Ireland I wont comment on, rather than by saying that I am yet to hear one potential solution that satisfies both UK’s withdrawal from EU and and the Good Friday agreement. IT solutions have been mentioned, but I am fairly certain that none will be ready in a few months from now.  

Anyway, enough said, hopefully we will soon have clarity over the situation we will all face at the end of March 2019. Whatever it is we will find a way of coping with it, with or without significant initial impact.

I am still deciding on whether or not I will want to apply for dual citizenship. I appreciate a lot of what EU gives us, but rest assured that I also have reservations about their involvement in some aspects of our lives. Hopefully Brexit will at least be a trigger to review what the population, rather than the politicians, actually want from EU. If that is the end result then at least some good has come from this.

 

Best regards,

Rene Falch Olesen

 


 

 

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