After 3.5 years of painful discussions, internal battles and continued uncertainty, the UK crossed the Rubicon last month and stepped out of the European Union. For 47 years, the EU and UK shared a common dream of creating a better world, and, although undoubtedly the final goal remains the same for both, their journey will now follow different paths.

That being said, little will change in the near future as both parties have agreed to respect a transition period till the end of the year, in order to define their future trade relationship. This transition period may or may not be prolonged with a maximum of 2 years, but for safety’s sake it would be best not to take this into account. What is sure, is that negotiations of a post-brexit deal promise to be tough, as both parties set out contrasting objectives.

As such, the level of uncertainty for businesses on either side of the Channel hasn’t been reduced since January 31st, only the sense of urgency.

The Port of Antwerp together with its logistic service providers, has prepared itself to cope with whatever Trade agreement (if any) is concluded, but keeps urging companies to get their ducks in a row.

The European and British economies are strongly inter-linked and many companies aren’t familiar with 3rd country-trade at all. Even today, too many haven’t taken the effort to conduct an impact analysis and review their current supply chain.

The Port of Antwerp believes that eventually the Brexit will result in a partial shift from accompanied (ferry) to unaccompanied (container) transport. This is logical, as most challenges will present themselves in ports where capacity (infrastructural, labour, clearance procedures, other) is limited and important disruptions are expected.

Business always finds a way, and supply chains will be re-engineered in favour of Ports that offer alternatives and helps to support them. After all,’Just-in-Time’ doesn’t mean fast, it means right on time.

The Port of Antwerp is such a port: it is not a coastal ferry-port but a very large, highly performant container-port located 80 miles inland, closest to Europe’s main production and consumption areas. With its state-of-the-art infrastructure, it not only provides all the required capacity for handling, storage, value added logistics and distribution, but also offers smooth transit and clearance procedures.

The Port of Antwerp boasts strong and growing short-sea connections with the UK and Ireland and is confident to be able to handle additional volumes in a sustainable way.

Be part of the Antwerp-solution and do yourself a favour: download our Brexit-whitepaper from our website or consult one of our Brexperts.

As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’!

Article by Wim Dillen, International Development Manager, Port of Antwerp

Attend Coastlink 2020 to hear the updates and to meet with key representatives from the Port of Antwerp. Take advantage of the opportunity to make and build new relationships with attendees in the short sea shipping and logistics sectors. Visit our Website to book on-line, or, call the team on +44 1329 825335 or email

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