With the new prime minister set to be unveiled later this morning, the Freight Transport Association has written to both candidates to plead the case for a Brexit deal.
Both front runner Boris Johnson and rival Jeremy Hunt have said they would go for a no-deal Brexit if they could not get the agreement they want.
However, the FTA warned: “As an apolitical organisation, we do not dispute the decision of the Referendum but we are convinced by our Members that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be the worst possible outcome for the economy and is to be avoided at all costs.”
Deputy chief executive James Hookham said: “We remain hugely concerned at the fragility of these plans and the state of readiness of traders, carriers and agencies on both sides of the border to implement them flawlessly as early as 31 October.”
The FTA is encouraging members to prepare for all eventualities, said Hookham, “but to do so, they need urgent action from government, starting with the extension of easements previously conceded for 29 March, some of which will have expired before 31 October.
“We have offered FTA’s support to both candidates in the Tory party leadership election to provide advice and guidance moving into such a crucial period for the future success of the British economy.
“Many pieces of the jigsaw remain incomplete if traders and hauliers are to continue to operate effectively after 31 October, but government preparations seem to have stalled. We need these procedures to be completed and pending questions to be clarified and answered as soon as possible Livelihoods are dependent on cross border trade, both in Ireland and on the mainland, and the clock is ticking if businesses are to adopt and adapt to new trading processes and learn new procedures.
“Most importantly, there needs to be certainty around the what will happen at the Irish land border for the haulage businesses that will be the first to cross it on the first morning of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.”