The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has raised concerns about possible plans to end the free movement of labour once Brexit occurs.

According to the FTA, the logistics sector “depends on EU workers to keep moving”, with the freight body raising concerns that any limitations on worker movement could hamper the logistics sector in the run up to Christmas in future years.

It added that it would make a submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, a review commissioned by the home secretary, on the reliance of the logistics sector on EU workers.

“Who’s going to deliver Christmas 2019 without the EU drivers and warehouse staff? Logistics is so important to the British economy,” said James Hookham, FTA’s deputy chief executive. “If we want to keep Britain trading then we need to be finding ways to solve the existing skills shortage and not exacerbating the problem.”

He added: “We are already starting to see an exodus of existing EU drivers because of uncertainty, the devaluation of the pound after the Brexit vote, and a more general disrespect for the great value they bring to our economy and society. Whilst we support policies that are intended to make migrants and the country better off, disrupting the logistics industry would certainly have the reverse effect. Government policy needs to be more targeted and support and protect our vital industries, such as logistics, in the interests of everyone.”