Movement in Europe could become a matter of luck for UK hauliers

Published: 06 November 2018

Movement in Europe could become a matter of luck for UK hauliers
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling recently went into detail regarding permit plans in a no-deal Brexit scenario. While describing the details, the transport secretary stated that there would be fewer than 4,000 permits available. These permits would fail to cover the estimated 40,000 international hauliers currently operating from the UK.

For hauliers, this has increased concerns regarding trade if a no-deal Brexit were to take place as it could have a major impact for businesses who wish to trade on an international scale.

As Britain is currently part of the single market an unlimited number of drivers can travel across the EU, providing both parties with freedom of movement which has proven to be beneficial to trade within the market.
Under a no-deal, this would all be undone and drivers would need to process ECMT licences in preparation for Brexit if they wished to continue trading within the EU. This is one of the many reasons the transition period was extended last month.

DfT revealed on a published paper how the ECMT permits would come into play following Brexit as well as some of the requirements for the documents. At this point in time they believe there would be 3,816 permits available to drivers, while up to 40,000 drivers would be looking to continue international trade after Brexit.
HGVs that meet the Euro VI emissions will be the frontrunners to gain access to the permits first and foremost, the less requirements a vehicle meets the less likely a permit application will be successful. Particularly polluting vehicles will struggle to access a permit according to the DfT’s plans.

Managing director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, Rod McKenzie, gave his thoughts on the considerable implications this could have for the haulage industry: 
“There simply aren’t enough permits for the vehicles of hauliers who want to get across the Channel – do the maths. We desperately need a deal.”

He added: “All the stuff around the ECMT is not a surprise, we’ve been warning our haulage members about it for some time, but it goes to show the complete lack of preparedness for a hard Brexit”

If bilateral agreements could be met, there would be much less concern in regards to the lack of ECMT permits, however, these agreements would need to be met between the 27 countries the UK currently has access to as part of the EU one-by-one. Negotiating different terms and deals with each country as a non-EU member.
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