Business, Freight News, Road

Business (almost) as usual for UK hauliers

[ February 5, 2019   //   ]

The government laid a road haulage statutory instrument in Parliament on 5 February to ensure UK law operates effectively if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The government will continue to license UK hauliers to the same standards as at present, and will require foreign hauliers operating in this country to do the same.
The legislation also provides for continued access to the UK market, after exit, for hauliers from the 27 EU member states.
The European Commission has meanwhile proposed legislation that would allow UK hauliers basic rights to conduct operations to, from and through the EU for nine months after exit, if there is no deal. This will need to be agreed by the Council and European Parliament, and is being considered by both institutions urgently.
This proposal is predicated on the UK’s granting equivalent access for EU hauliers to the UK, and, as it is a more liberal offer says the Government, the UK is discussing with the Commission whether there is scope to extend the EU’s offer to match.
UK legislation does allow suspension of EU hauliers’ rights to undertake cabotage operations in the UK and the Government is putting in place measures to do so, immediately after exit day if needed, but the Government does not expect that this will be necessary.
The Government has also been considering bilateral and unilateral measures with EU member states. France is separately progressing with a unilateral measure to provide wider access to UK hauliers in the event of no deal. There are also 22 historic bilateral agreements that would come back into effect if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
In addition, a multilateral quota of transport licences was introduced by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) in 1974 to support liberalised road freight transport but the UK has an allocation of only 984 annual and 2,832 short-term permits for 2019. The government’s expectation is that hauliers should not need an ECMT permit to continue doing a range of business in all or much of the EU, even in the event of no deal, and if it should prove necessary to use some of these permits for UK hauliers operating to EU countries, the government has put in place a scheme to allocate them.
UK hauliers have been applying for ECMT permits and the government expects to inform applicants of the outcome of their applications shortly.