The survey, based on the responses of over 835 businesses from across the UK that export or import, found that delays at UK or EU ports would lead to considerable business disruption, particularly for those operating a just-in-time model.

Nearly a third (29%) of companies believe they will be impacted in terms of administration, costs or operations by delays or congestion at UK or European ports after Brexit but still aren’t yet planning for it.

Crucially, with less than a year to go until Brexit, one in three (33%) businesses affected by the implementation of new customs procedures still aren’t planning for checks and declarations between the UK and EU.

The sheer volume and speed of trade between the UK and EU reinforces how vital it is for both government and business to be clear on a delivery timetable for the necessary infrastructure investment and systems to be in place. The government needs to promptly define its vision for the end state relationship with the EU so that businesses have clarity, and are in a position to implement the necessary changes to their operations from the start of the transition period. In the meantime, firms should be planning for how different scenarios could impact them, and consider the implications now to minimise disruption in the future.

Around a third of the UK’s trade in goods crosses the English Channel in lorries via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, serving the just-in-time supply chain between the UK, Ireland and the rest of the EU.  Maintaining fluidity throughout the journey of trade in goods, both at ports and along the key strategic road arteries serving them, is essential. 67% of respondents say it’s not likely that their business will move its operations from their existing UK port to a different UK port in the next three years, but 30% say the infrastructure leading to and from ports is not meeting their business needs.