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No-deal plans are a recipe for post-Brexit chaos

Dec 04, 2018
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is warning plans in the government’s latest technical notice on commercial freight in the EU are too little, too late.

The RHA is astounded by the suggestion that hauliers should consider alternative modes of transport to move goods between the UK and the EU in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Richard Burnett

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “Goods are moved by road because of speed and efficiency – the UK relies on its incredibly efficient supply chain for consumers and businesses to get the things they need.  This would very quickly put the manufacturing sector under severe pressure and the hauliers they rely on out of business.”

The government has not said if it will require EU hauliers to apply for ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permits to enter the UK if UK operators are forced to obtain ECMT permits to enter the EU. The RHA says it’s unacceptable if permit requirements are not reciprocal.

“We’re very concerned that there’s no mention of plans for freight movements between the UK and the Irish Republic.”  Richard Burnett continued: “It’s essential that if there’s a “no deal” it is accompanied with the already agreed implementation period to give businesses a chance to avoid chaos in the supply chain.”

He called on the EU to recognise that striking a deal on Brexit is in the best interests of everyone – whether in the UK or EU.

Photo:  Richard Burnett

Excerpt from Department for Transport guidance published 24 September, 2018

After March 2019 if there’s no deal

Community Licences, ECMT permits and market access

In the unlikely event of no deal, UK hauliers could no longer rely on automatic recognition by the EU of UK-issued Community Licences. Hauliers may therefore no longer be able to access EU markets with their Community Licence alone. This would also end the ability of UK hauliers to perform cabotage.

EU countries may choose to recognise that UK-issued operator licences and associated authorisations are based on the same standards as EU Community Licences and do not require further authorisations. This would ensure continued cross-border trade, but cannot be guaranteed.

If they do not, UK hauliers will be able to use ECMT permits if there is no deal. We have made arrangements for this in regulations under the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act. In addition, some old bilateral agreements between the UK and specific EU countries may come back into force if there is no deal. The UK would continue to work with those EU countries should these agreements be required and provide further details to hauliers. The UK would also seek to put in place new bilateral agreements with EU countries to provide haulage access. Some of these bilateral agreements would also require the possession of a permit to allow access to the EU country concerned.

ECMT permits can be used for different vehicles at different times but must be carried in a vehicle whilst it is making an international journey. The permit allows transit (though this is restricted in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Russia) and allows cross trade.

ECMT permits will be available to enable journeys to the EU, but these are limited in number. While the government would seek to bring previous bilateral agreements with individual EU countries back into force and conclude new ones as swiftly as possible, the timing for this and the number of permits available under them (where this is a requirement) cannot be guaranteed. Transit arrangements and the application of permit requirements to own account haulage (carrying your own goods) under bilateral agreements would also depend on the outcome of negotiations with other EU countries.

To manage this process the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018 puts in place arrangements to allocate permits required for international journeys, whether issued under the ECMT or bilateral arrangements, and to enforce these requirements in the UK.

Read the whole document here.



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