One in ten businesses could go bankrupt as a result of Brexit border delays

Almost one quarter of businesses say they’re planning to stockpile goods - research

Lorries and passengers at the Dover Ferry Terminal earlier this year. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Lorries and passengers at the Dover Ferry Terminal earlier this year. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Border delays of up to 30 minutes as a result of Brexit could drive one in ten companies to bankruptcy, a survey by a UK trade body has found.

Of some 1,310 EU- and UK-based supply chain managers, 10 per cent said they believed their companies would likely go bankrupt if goods were delayed at the border by between 10 and 30 minutes.

For delays of between one hour and three hours, 14 per cent expected bankruptcy, while delays between 12 and 24 hours would cause 15 per cent to expect bankruptcy.

The survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) found that businesses in the UK are taking steps to mitigate possible delays. Almost a quarter said they are planning to stockpile goods in the future while 21 per cent are looking for alternative suppliers outside the EU.

“The UK economy could fall of a cliff on Brexit day if goods are delayed by just minutes at the border. Businesses have become used to operating efficiently with exceptionally lean, frictionless supply chains, where quick customs clearance is a given,” said CIPS economist John Glen.

Although those surveyed were negative on Brexit-related delays, they were equally unenthused about UK prime minister Theresa May’s chequers Brexit plan.

Chequers support

Just 4 per cent of supply chain managers were in full support of the Chequers plan for a common rulebook for goods while 9 per cent of respondents said they would prefer that the UK leave the EU without a deal than with Mrs May’s plan.

“The Brexit deadline is drawing nearer and while most businesses are trying to prepare, they are limited on what they can do until a final Brexit deal has been agreed,” Mr Glen said.

He added that companies are struggling to bring their supply chain back to the UK due to a “lack of suitable alternatives”.

The CIPS survey was conducted between August 21st and September 10th this year and included 1,075 UK businesses and 143 EU businesses.