ViganTelestackPort of South LouisianaThe Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology TBA GroupCimbria
  • Telestack
  • Port of Stockton
  • Cleveland Cascades Ltd
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • Van Aalst
  • TOC Events

UK Q1 trade stats lift lid on Brexit impact

UK Q1 trade stats lift lid on Brexit impact

(Posted on 09/06/21)

The UK’s Q1 2021 port freight statistics from the Department for Transport released today provide further insight into what was a tough start to the year for the economy, with a national lockdown enduring for the full quarter and UK and EU businesses getting to grips with Brexit.

When comparing January to March 2021 with January to March 2020 through UK major ports, total freight tonnage decreased by 9% to 103.9 million tonnes; with inward units facing a more severe fall of 17%, compared to an 8% fall in outward units. Alternatively, unitised traffic fell by 13% to 4.2 million units, with inward units being hardest hit with a 17% fall, compared to outward units decreasing by 8%.

Commenting, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy Manager and Economic Analyst, at the British Ports Association said, “This is the first time the industry as a whole has been able to see the aggregate impact of Brexit on port volumes. Due to the timing of the Brexit deadline falling at the same time as the third national lockdown, it is challenging to truly separate their impact and draw firm conclusions on which had a more harmful impact on trade in the first quarter.

However, when looking back to port freight data from Q2 2020, when the full extent of the UK's first national lockdown was felt, the data painted a far more severe picture than we've seen today - with an 18% decline in freight tonnage and a 44% decline in unitised traffic, compared to the same period. By now, we have a good understanding of the harms to the economy caused by lockdowns, and therefore port freight, so today's data can be at least be partly attributed to the impact of COVID-19.

This said, we know from other data sources such as the ONS Trade Report, that January saw a fall in goods imports and exports that was the largest month-on-month drop since records began, which was ultimately driven by the Brexit deadline at the very end of 2020. Furthermore, today's figures are consistent with other reports from trade statistics that suggest that businesses stockpiled ahead of the Brexit deadline in Q4, which led to a quieter first quarter than usual. This also indicates why inward unitised freight faced the greatest fall than any other category, as there were most concerns about RoRo traffic ahead of the end of the transition period.

Of course, full import controls will not come into force until January 2022, so the full extent of the impact of Brexit on trade - temporary or permanent - has not yet been realised.”

Latest News

AD Ports Kazakhstan JV creates opportunities for bulk cargo

(Posted on 23/01/23)

In the presence of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the President... Read more


Port of South Louisiana agrees to purchase Avondale Global Gateway

(Posted on 16/01/23)

The Port of South Louisiana (Port SL) CEO Paul Matthews, has announced that it has entered into a Purchase... Read more


Bulk increases in North Sea Port’s record year

(Posted on 16/01/23)

With 73.6 million tons of cargo transhipment from maritime shipping (+7%) and 64.5 million tons from... Read more


Overall Dunkerque Port traffic grows despite Brexit and bulk decline

(Posted on 12/01/23)

Despite unfavourable economic conditions, traffic in the port of Dunkerque, the third largest port in... Read more


Schalck highlights North Sea Port record figures despite war

(Posted on 10/01/23)

North Sea Port CEO Daan Schalck has been looking back as well as forward. 2022, was a year in which... Read more


Multi-million pound deal for new de-icing salt facility

(Posted on 10/01/23)

A multi-million-pound deal has been agreed to build a new road salt storage facility to support Scotland... Read more


New CEO appointed at Pilbara Ports Authority

(Posted on 10/01/23)

Ports Minister Rita Saffioti has announced Samuel McSkimming as the new CEO of the Pilbara Ports Authority... Read more


AD Ports Group delivers remarkable growth in first publicly listed year

(Posted on 04/01/23)

AD Ports Group has delivered on its commitment to produce remarkable results and extend its international... Read more


Niagara hub doubles in size with added 170-acre property

(Posted on 23/12/22)

A new industrial property has been added to the Thorold Multimodal Hub in Canada, a growing industrial... Read more


Master planning consultation underway in Queensland

(Posted on 20/12/22)

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) in Australia is undertaking public consultation on... Read more


Port of StocktonBühler GmbHTOC EventsSailors SocietyCleveland Cascades LtdVan Aalst
  • Vigan
  • Cimbria
  • TBA Group
  • Bühler GmbH

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest global news in bulk cargo handling and shipping