18 Feb 2019

Mainfreight invests six months of planning in Brexit - whatever form it takes

9:08 am on 18 February 2019

It's the outcome no one wants but the one global business is increasingly preparing for with the Brexit deadline fewer than 40 days away.

No caption

Mainfreight's staff are helping their European clients prepare for the aftermath of Brexit, including what will happen on 29 March when Britain is due to leave the EU. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A hard, or no-deal Brexit would be a major issue for NZX-listed logistics company Mainfreight, which pulled in €182 million (NZ$300 million) from its Europe business in the first half of the financial year, a reasonable chunk of its NZ$1.4 billion total revenue.

As Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed plan faces defeat after defeat in the British Parliament, some are now losing hope for a deal come 29 March.

Mainfreight Group Managing Director Don Braid.

Don Braid Photo: Supplied / Mainfreight

Mainfreight chief executive Don Braid said the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal was something the company could not ignore.

"Talking to our European team, we're preparing for actually a hard Brexit and we're preparing for on the day, what do we do, preparing our customers to be ready in case there are hold ups and damaging lines of trucks and ferries, to actually move freight on a daily basis."

Mr Braid said the team had been preparing for six months.

"Mostly we think that it'll be a positive effect and whilst it's perhaps a damaging thing to occur within the trade to happen between the UK and Europe it might well provide opportunities to logistics businesses."

Mr Braid believed industries in both the UK and Europe who employ staff in manufacturing on the other side would be hardest hit, but he was confident Mainfreight would be able to capitalise on the opportunities Brexit presented.

"For us we've got customers saying maybe we'll have to warehouse in the UK, will you open a warehouse for us? So there's the example of opportunity whereas previously they might have just serviced the UK out of the Netherlands on a daily basis."

Meanwhile, global accountancy firm KPMG puts the probability of Britain leaving the EU with some kind of deal at 55 percent, the chances of a no-deal Brexit at around 30 percent and the chances of no Brexit at 15 percent.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs