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The UK has left the EU – what now for the nation’s fleets?

By Simon Austin-Beckett2020-03-09
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The UK left the European Union at the end of last month – so what’s changed?

If you’re a fleet-reliant business owner, the answer is, relatively little.

Currently, we are in a transitional period. Trade deals are yet to be negotiated, tariffs yet to be agreed and the future of our relationship with our mainland neighbours yet to be decided.

As far as fleet and motor industry bodies are concerned, the advice remains much the same. Some suggest Brexit could damage the industry, while others see reasons to be positive in the Government’s recently published Withdrawal Agreement.

While the positives and negatives are yet to be seen, we can say with a degree of certainty that Brexit will have an impact on the UK’s fleets. This impact is predicted to be focused around three key areas – fuel, maintenance and regulation.

Fuel 

Recent reports suggest that the UK’s oil refineries could be undercut in the event of a “No Deal” Brexit – which is still very much on the table.

While the immediate effect would be lower pump prices, over time, a reliance on imported fuel would send prices in the opposite direction.

The weak pound could also impact fuel costs. Since the UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020, the price has fallen even further against the dollar and the Euro, which may affect purchasing power.

Maintenance 

As with the other factors on this list, the impact of Brexit on maintenance costs will depend almost entirely on the nature of the trade deal drafted between the UK and EU.

At present, large numbers of car parts are imported from the EU to the UK tariff-free. Should tariffs increase under the new agreement, we can expect that increase to be passed on to customers.

The strength of the pound will be a factor here too, unless UK part production increases to meet domestic demand – something that seems unlikely any time soon.

Compliance and regulation

For businesses that regularly cross the EU border, one of the biggest changes will concern the required documentation.

Prior to the official leaving date, the UK government posted general advice on its website. However, now that we have entered the transitional period, that advice has been withdrawn.

The official word is that current rules on international haulage still apply until 1st January 2021. Exactly what happens then remains to be seen, however.

Preparing for life outside the EU

While we may not know exactly what it will look like, we can be certain that we are heading for a new type of relationship with the European Union.

Until details of any new deals are published, all fleet-reliant businesses can do is prepare for every eventuality. This means driving greater efficiency wherever possible, streamlining processes, closing gaps in knowledge and ultimately working smarter.

Here are three simple ways to get ready, come what may…

Digitise your systems

Brexit is likely to mean new regulations, new processes, and additional paperwork.

It’s a good idea to streamline and digitise key processes now to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible. This could mean going paperless or using fleet management technology to automate time-consuming processes like timesheets and payroll.

Get total visibility

If your business is likely to see any disruption as a result of Brexit, it’s vital that you are aware of the situation as soon as possible.

With GPS fleet tracking technology, you can monitor every vehicle in your fleet in near real-time. This information can be used to mitigate delays, plan contingency and keep customers informed every step of the way.

Be proactive

The cost of parts and labour may be out of your hands, but your maintenance procedure is very much within your control.

By taking a proactive approach to servicing and repairs, you can ensure vehicles are always in peak condition – potentially helping to avoid breakdowns and hefty repair bills.

With a fleet tracking solution in place, you can carry out routine servicing when needed by setting maintenance reminders based on time, engine hours or mileage.

Make sure you’re prepared, whatever the future holds. Contact us to find out more ways to transform your business with a fleet management solution. 


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Simon Austin-Beckett

Simon is the Sr. Marketing Manager, Atlantic & Benelux. With over 15 years marketing experience in the IT software and business analytics industry, Simon believes passionately in the power of data and how it can help business realise their full potential faster.


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