BRUSSELS – The Flemish government has launched the “Gate 2 Britain” project to make trade between Flanders and the United Kingdom more efficient. Flemish companies are suffering a huge loss in sales due to Britain’s exit from the European Union. The project, which is being implemented by VIL and Deloitte, on behalf of VLAIO, will create a green corridor that will facilitate the flow of goods between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The funds will be released from the European Union’s BAR (Brexit Exit Adjustment Reserve) for this purpose.
Brexit is the new reality of our political and economic landscape. Economic operators and consumers are affected in this region on a daily basis. Brexit not only creates financial and administrative burdens for trading partners and authorities on both sides of the Channel, but also disrupts international supply chains. The difficulties are related, among others, to the many stakeholders involved (customs, companies, stations, freight forwarders, freight companies, etc.), the transparency of data on cargo transactions and the complexity and multiplicity of formalities to be met.
Flemish companies’ sales loss as a result of Brexit averaged 6% in 2020, which, combined with increased logistical costs, had a significant financial impact.
Flanders as an important gateway
The Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), in close consultation with Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), has appointed VIL and Deloitte to develop a proposal with a business plan for a global solution for the benefit of companies directly and indirectly involved in trade with the UK.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Labor, Social Economy and Agriculture, Hilde Crevits: “With 3 to 6 million freight movements to and from the UK, 90% of which are transit, Flanders is an important gateway to trade with the UK. It is clear that the impact of Brexit from The EU is palpable for Flemish companies and can only be addressed sustainably with innovative solutions that should reduce inefficiencies, increase costs and transform supply chains.Moreover, Brexit represents an ideal opportunity for Flanders to spread and enhance its logistical hotspots (such as ports, airports and distribution centers) to map the flows of goods to and from Flanders. This could give a huge boost to the Flemish economy and all its stakeholders.”
Smooth trade between Flanders and the United Kingdom
This project has been named ‘Gateway2Britain’ and consists of a technology pillar, a physical pillar and the ultimate goal of achieving a true ‘green corridor’. The technology hub aims to connect the various stakeholders via a digital platform, enhancing the exchange of data, commercial documents and transparency between the various stakeholders. The physical pillar relates to the selection of one or more strategic locations to carry out advertising, physical control operations and logistics. Finally, the Green Corridor involves realizing a true “frictionless trade” flow by linking the physical and digital pillars by means of technological solutions, both on the European (Flemish) side and the UK.
After exploring the landscape, Deloitte and VIL will work on a proposal for a conceptual and technical development of the model and a plan of action for its implementation through 2023. Together with an extensive network and specialist knowledge from the entrepreneurial field and the broader port community want this project to create added value and growth opportunities for the Flemish economy as a whole. Through the Gateway² Britain initiative.
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