Published: 24 April 2019
Analysts had no idea where the Brexit process would take the UK by the time the March 29th deadline rolled around, following May’s deal suffering a defeat three times, there was much uncertainty for hauliers as the Government attempted to produce some results and satisfactory outcomes as the deadline approached.
Eventually, the deal was pushed back to October – allowing the Government more time to plan and handle further negotiations. For many in the transport industry, this came as a relief with increasing concern that an immediate no-deal departure from the EU would have a devastating impact on the haulage industry initially.
It was later confirmed that UK drivers could continue to use their EU community licences, at least, until the end of 2019. At this point many plans across the country such as Operation Brock were also suspended until further notice, meaning for the foreseeable future business could resume its normal flow between the UK and EU. This was a huge relief for the hauliers within both regions.
The arrangements meant that hauliers can continue journeys to and from the UK (such as travel from the UK to Poland, or visa versa) as well as UK drivers being able to travel through EU countries to reach another.
It was also confirmed the rules of cabotage would change completely from day 1 of Brexit, many restrictions and limits would then be applied for those who wished to travel and complete multiple drops across the EU. For the first half of the year after Brexit, truckers will be authorised to carry out two cabotage journeys within a 7-day international trip.
After this initial period, one cabotage or cross-trade journey will be authorised within 7 days. Making many restrictions for drivers who could want to take on more than one job throughout their journey. Once the trade is complete, the lorry driver must return to the UK.
“Hauliers will not be allowed to drive through the EU and EEA to a third country, for example, driving through France to get to Switzerland without an ECMT permit.” The Department for Transport explained.
“If you get a new international operator licence or renew your licence from April 2019, you will get a UK licence for the community instead of an EU community licence. This will work in the same way as the EU community Licence. It will let you do the same journeys a Community Licence allows. The same rules will apply to using it. You do not need to exchange EU Community Licences for UK Licences for the Community.”
Following 2019, no arrangements have been made – the Department confirmed: “If there is a no deal, you can use your Community Licence for journeys to and from Ireland. Journeys through Ireland to other EU and EEA countries or journeys through Ireland between Great Britain and Northern Ireland,”
They elaborated further: “The UK has signed transport agreements with Switzerland and Norway. The agreements ensure that UK hauliers can continue to drive in Switzerland and Norway using a Community Licence after the UK leaves the EU. If there is no EU Exit deal, you will need an ECMT permit for journeys through EU or EEA countries to Switzerland.” The contingency arrangements mean that EU hauliers will also be able to continue moving goods within the UK.
“This includes journeys to and from the UK, through the UK and cabotage within the UK.EU hauliers’ Community Licences and CPC documents will be recognised. EU hauliers will not require ECMT permits to operate within the UK. “
RHA Policy director for England and Wales, Duncan Buchanan, discussed the terms of the reciprocal agreement in the situation of a no-deal Brexit was “very helpful.” He explained further: “The majority of UK-EU international road haulage can move without the complexity of needing ECMT Permits which means many operators will no longer need the permits they’ve been allocated” he said. “The other win is that there should be enough ECMT permits to meet demand for third-country transit. We now call on the DfT to review its allocation plans for short-term permits, so they are easily accessible for all operators who need them.”