The day before my first day on the job at Logistics Manager saw supply chain issues hit the headlines. Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, you may recall was doing the rounds on a Sunday talk show reassuring the public that a No-Deal Brexit would indeed not result in food shortages.
Putting aside the fact that a member of the cabinet is going on a Sunday morning TV programme to tell people that a government policy will not result in a starving population, Gove’s claim was quickly debunked by the British Retail Consortium.
“It is categorically untrue that the supply of fresh food will be unaffected under a no deal Brexit,” the BRC said in a quickly released statement. “The retail industry has been crystal clear in its communications with government over the past 36 months that the availability of fresh foods will be impacted as a result of checks and delays at the border.”
Okay, so the government is telling me one thing, and an organisation that represents 70% of the UK retail industry is telling me something completely different.
I had a similar experience on my fourth day on the job. Andrew Baxter, MD at Europa Worldwide, told me that that the level of border delays in the event of a no-deal Brexit “have been exaggerated”. He should know, he’s spent the vast chunk of the year preparing for it and deals with cross-border freight every single day.
Next I spoke to Labour MEP John Howarth, who said that the challenge of a No-Deal Brexit was so great for the logistics and materials handing sectors that anyone who said they knew what would happen did not enough evidence to back up any claims.
He added that leaving the European Union in this way had never been done by any nation before, so there was no benchmark for what could happen and how it would affect businesses. He has a point.
So here-in lies my challenge as the new Editor of Logistics Manager. Supply chain issues are national headlines, but in speaking to a broad range of interested parties I find myself asking: who do I believe?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please contact me on [email protected]