As the likelihood of Britain’s ports becoming inundated with queues increases ahead of Brexit, firms are stockpiling as many goods as possible.

According to the latest survey by the EEF, the precaution taken by firms has allowed production levels to continue at the same level despite the drop in export orders over the last few months.

Chief executive of EEF, Stephen Phipson, said: “The moderation in manufacturing performance over the course of this year appears to have gathered pace during the final quarter, with more clouds on the horizon than there have been for some time.

“This should come as no surprise given the significant political uncertainty at home, which is why it is essential that there is an agreement for the UK’s withdrawal as soon as possible.”

The findings come after the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, stated that a majority of businesses in the country were unprepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing at the accountancy firm BDO, added: “The sharp decline in export orders is a real cause for concern. There are likely to be a number of causes for the fall in exports this quarter; uncertainty over our future relationship with the EU being the main one.”

He said overseas demand helped sustain manufacturing growth over the last few years and the EU remains the most important trading block for UK manufacturers.

“It is crucial that Britain is seen to be open for business with the EU and other key global markets,” he added.

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