Brexit risks putting U.K. freight in the slow lane as well.
“Everybody goes through passport control,” Els Creyf, duty manager at the P&O Ferries Ltd. terminal in Zeebrugge, said as she stood alongside the 32-ton vessel that had made the overnight voyage. “Cargo has no controls.”
For now. The U.K. is part of the European Union’s single market, which ensures the free flow of goods across national borders while being outside the bloc’s common travel zone. With Brexit due in 10 months, Zeebrugge embodies the repeated warnings by the U.K.’s EU partners that its departure from the bloc is a lose-lose move by adding bureaucracy for businesses and costs for consumers.
The port calls itself the world’s biggest hub for shipments of new cars, is Belgium’s No. 2 harbor after Antwerp and is deeply integrated with the U.K. economy. The threat of delays at Zeebruge for freight shipped to and from Britain highlights the broad economic risks of Brexit, not least for the U.K., half of whose trade is with the rest of the EU.
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