Representatives of the shipping industry have called for Brexit talks to be extended to avoid the disruption that could be caused by a no-deal scenario.

The industry could be hit hard when the UK leaves the European Union if appropriate preparations are not made and polling has indicated many leaders in the area will be underprepared if a settlement is not reached.

Maritime UK, whose members handle 95 per cent of all the UK’s imports and exports, has urged the Government and EU to extend the Article 50 process if a deal is not agreed by October.

A survey conducted by the organisation found that two-thirds of UK business leaders now think a no-deal outcome is likely, and only half have made preparations for it.

Many of the 507 leaders asked supported the agreement reached at the Chequers summit, including plans for a new UK-EU free trade area.

Chairman of Maritime UK David Dingle said: “Business leaders from across the economy support the maritime sector’s call for a pragmatic Brexit deal that enables frictionless trade,

“We cannot accept that no deal is better than any deal. Failing to secure a deal will mean delays and disruption at ports like Dover, Holyhead and Portsmouth, but equally at EU ports including Zeebrugge, Calais and Dublin,

“We urge both sides to recognise an agreement is in everyone’s interest, and to be pragmatic so that a deal may be agreed quickly.”

The Institute of Directors has published its own report requesting the Government release information, to allow businesses to plan for this scenario, stating that many companies are still unprepared for Brexit and have been left in the dark knowing what to plan for.

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