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Brexit: What impact could it have on the haulage industry

Dec 13, 2018

We are all waiting and watching with interest at what is happening with Brexit. If it feels to you as if things change every day, then you are not alone. The focus is very much on the likelihood of a no deal outcome and what this could mean for the country and businesses across all industries. Here we consider what impact a no deal Brexit could have on the haulage industry.

With news last week suggesting major disruption to ports such as Dover in the instance of a no deal and that the Department of Transport’s plans for a no deal situation are not as developed as they should be at this point in time, it is a time of uncertainty for those in the haulage industry. With an estimated 33,000 freight vehicles entering and exiting the UK every day just via Dover, the impact of Brexit could be significant in a number of areas:

Licences and permits

Standard International Operators Licence along with a Community Licence are needed currently by haulage firms carrying out long distance journeys to EU member countries. In the event of a no deal there is the possibility that the EU would no longer recognise these Community Licences and mean these couldn’t be used to enter the EU.

This could mean the reliance on an ECMT permit. However, if this were to become the case for hauliers, there is concern that there are nowhere near enough permits available to cover the number of haulage firms. The RHA have suggested that there could only be 5% of the number of the permits required.

This is of significant importance to the haulage industry given the limited number of permits that could potentially be available.

• Make sure you are aware of how many permits your company may need.
• Remember, some vehicles will be exempt from permit requirements, for example, vehicles under 3.5 tonnes.
• Permits are expected to be issued by the end of the year so if you’ve not applied you need to do so.
• The Department for Transport are advising companies to have contingency plans in place if they do not receive the number of permits they apply for.

Driver Requirements

A number of existing conventions mean that drivers will still be able to drive in the EU after Brexit however there may be additional requirements. The Department for Transport state that an International Driving Permit which is appropriate to the countries to be visited could be required. Applying for additional licences not only adds extra time but also extra costs, both for the licence and administrator involved in the organisation.

Do also keep an eye out for news on CPC requirements. If the EU choose not to recognise UK issued CPC’s this may inhibit UK driver’s ability to drive for an EU operator and require them to also obtain a CPC qualification issued by an EU country.

Customs checks

Whilst we remain a member of the EU, there are limited, if any customs checks. This means the process for haulage firms crossing into Europe is straightforward and fast.

There is uncertainty over what customs checks could be implemented and where checks could be carried out if we do leave the EU with no deal. It has been widely reported that the introduction of new checks could cause major delays and slowdowns to haulage firms. This could have a knock-on effect to supply chain management, the ability to transport fresh goods such as fruit and vegetables and the ability of companies to plan into 2019 whilst such a level of uncertainly remains.

Obviously, at the current time we do not know what the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be so this is all very much speculation. But no matter what the outcome, there will be an impact on the haulage industry and cargo industry. A recent study by the Bank of England found the majority of UK businesses are unprepared for Brexit. If you’ve not started to plan or put contingencies in place, now may be a good time to start.

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