Fleet representative organisation, ACFO has called on UK fleets to design and prepare disaster recovery plans in readiness for a potential no-deal Brexit on 31st October.

With the UK government showing increasing determination to leave the European Union (EU) come what may on Halloween, despite the Benn Act forcing the government to legally ask for a Brexit extension, fleets must be prepared for all eventualities in the coming weeks.

Caroline Sandall, chairman, ACFO, believes that a no-deal Brexit would “inevitably” result in “a level of disruption”.

“You’ll expect it in new car and parts supply and there are likely to be some delays in the short- and medium-term,” added Sandall.

Primarily, Sandall is calling on fleets to assess orders for new vehicles and determine the impact of trade tariffs on prices. A no-deal Brexit would result in 10% tariffs on fleet vehicles, as well as average tariffs of 4.5% for vehicle parts.

Mike Hawes, chief executive, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), insists the British automotive sector has been consistent in its view on the outcome of a no-deal Brexit.

“Brexit is already having an impact – on output, costs and investment, as hundreds of millions of pounds are diverted to Brexit cliff-edge mitigation,” said Hawes.

“The UK and EU automotive industries are deeply integrated, and it is vital we maintain all the conditions that have made us globally competitive – at the very least, this means tariff-free trade, frictionless borders.

“No-deal must be avoided at all costs.”

However, Mercedes-Benz, which sold the highest number of true fleet vehicles in the UK in 2018 (83,000+), insists that its vehicle supply chain would not be affected by a no-deal Brexit scenario.

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz recently said: “Mercedes-Benz has the clear objective of ensuring goods can continue to enter and exit the UK in a timely manner following the UK’s exit from the EU.

“We are constantly monitoring the status of negotiations, and have plans in place to ensure our objective is met should the UK exit the EU without a transition period.

“These plans cover all relevant topics e.g. the supply and movement of goods, customs procedures and logistics.”

Meanwhile Ms Sandall also reinforced the importance for fleets that operate overseas to familiarise themselves with the necessary documentation and items required to legally drive in Europe. This includes ‘GB’ stickers, insurance green cards and International Driving Permits.

Leading figures at the UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) have also baulked at leaked ‘confidential’ government documents, with ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ warning of potential disruption to fuel supplies in London and across the south-east as a result of border delays.

James Hookham, deputy chief executive, FTA, said: “We are ready and waiting to adopt and adapt to new trading practices but without knowing the scenarios the Government believes industry should prepare for, logistics operators cannot be expected to take adequate steps to get ready for a no-deal Brexit.

“This is the first time the industry is learning of any threat to fuel supplies – a particularly worrying situation as this would affect the movement of goods across the country, not just to and from Europe, and could put jobs at risk throughout the sector which keeps Britain trading.”