International Road Haulage (UK Brexit)

The UK Road Haulage Association (RHA) expects no cabotage from 1st January 2021. It recommends UK firms start preparing for the ending of cabotage from January 2021.

The RHA has updated its Brexit Operator Checklist – here. Please review.

Whilst some aspects are listed as “subject to negotiation”, a number of line entries in the Checklist are now more specific. This reflects announcements made by the UK Government and the EU Commission.

EU Fuel VAT reclaim (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October

This Blog does not cover Customs and Excise. The information below comes from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) – here.

UK based International Operators will still be able to claim refunds of VAT on fuel bought in EU member states.

Follow the processes for non-EU countries to do the claim.

EU information is here.

Check with individual EU countries.

Some EU countries may require the appointment of an in-country tax representative to obtain the refunds.

International Road Haulage (UK Exit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019

Whilst the UK is in the EU, road transport continues as usual. Once the UK leaves the EU, road transport to and in the EU will be subject to new arrangements.

International ECMT permits were oversubscribed in the first round, accordingly the UK opened a new round of ECMT permit applications in March 2019 –

The government has secured additional ECMT permits at the ECMT Road Transport Group meeting. These include both Euro V and Euro VI permits. There are now:

• 1,320 annual Euro VI permits

• 290 annual Euro V permits

• 3,744 short-term Euro VI permits (valid for 30 days)

• 1,080 short-term Euro V permits (valid for 30 days)

Annual permits cover all journeys made using the permit between 1 January and 31 December 2019. Monthly permits are valid for all journeys within 30 days of the start date listed on the permit.

UK hauliers will be able to carry on doing work to and from the EU, after the 31st October 2019 for a short time, under the EU Contingency law enacted (see diagram). This law allows UK registered operators to carry out road haulage to EU member states until 31 December 2019. The new rules were approved by the EU Parliament and Council in March and allow most journeys without a permit until 31 December 2019:

• travel to any EU member state (empty or laden) and return (empty or laden)

• a limited amount of ‘cross-trade’ or ‘cabotage’ work

• the EU law does not allow permit free access to non-EU countries – an ECMT permit will be required (after Exit) to transit EU member states to a 3rd countries such as Switzerland or Turkey.

I will update this post or issue a new Blog post when the arrangements for 2020 are announced.

Enquiries should be made to the UK Department for Transport.

Road Haulage (NI Brexit)

UPDATE : the EU Council has now agreed its position on basic road connectivity – here.

There is uncertainty in the haulage industry about what will happen at EU borders if the UK leaves without a Brexit deal next month.

Back in November, the UK Government issued guidance to UK hauliers stating that they “might need ECMT permits to transport goods in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA)” if there is no deal by 29 March.

The European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits can be used in a list of 43 countries which have signed up to the international arrangement.

The deadline for 2019 applications expired on 18 January 2019 and on Saturday night, many hauliers were informed on whether or not they were successful. I posted earlier about the deadline.

ECMT permits were over-subscribed and allocated on a points-based system, with higher scores awarded to firms who make a larger number of journeys into EU member states.

It would appear the Department for Transport (DfT) did not take into account journeys to the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland operators, whereas English, Scottish or Welsh hauliers were credited with their journeys to the Republic of Ireland.

Just over 1,200 permits were available for the UK as a whole and it is likely only 60-70 were made available to Northern Ireland firms.

In its guidance issued last year, the Government said it expected that Northern Ireland hauliers “will not need an ECMT permit” to drive to or through the Republic of Ireland.

It stated it would not require Republic of Ireland hauliers to have ECMT permits to operate in Northern Ireland.

It added that the UK was seeking a reciprocal agreement from the Irish government to allow Northern Ireland hauliers to travel across the Irish border without a permit.

I posted earlier that the European Commission (in its Contingency Plan) has proposed legislation that would allow UK hauliers basic rights (on a reciprocal basis) to conduct operations to, from and through the EU for a limited period of nine months after exit, if there is no deal.

“The Commission’s proposal will need to be agreed by the Council and European Parliament, and is being considered by both institutions urgently.” (UK Transport Minister, by statement last week)

The minister said he laid legislation before Parliament last week to provide for that access. [this will be included in the Brexit Law List, added to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists]

Commercial Driving in the EU – further instruction (UK Brexit)

I posted recently with the UK Department for Transport (DfT) notice about International Road Haulage in the Brexit Preparedness context.

On Monday last (5th November) DfT issued its instruction on the allocation of the very limited number of ECMT permits that will be made available. Note: applications open shortly.

This ECMT permit allocation instruction and what hauliers must do next is here.

For 2019 only 984 annual permits for Euro VI emission vehicles, 2,592 monthly permits for Euro VI emission vehicles, and 240 monthly permits for Euro V or VI emission vehicles will be available. Annual permits will cover all journeys made using the permit between 1 January and 31 December 2019. Monthly permits will be valid for all journeys within 30 days of the start date listed on the permit.

Commercial Driving in the EU (UK Brexit Preparedness)

Today the UK Government published instructions on the actions commercial drivers must take (in the event of No Deal and no bilateral arrangements) in order to drive in the EU27 bloc after Brexit. This information is here.

The contents of any future EU-UK trade deal (or bilateral arrangements) may affect these instructions, so it’s essential to keep watching for updates (the information link in the first paragraph of this Blog post identifies ways to stay updated).

[A] Community licences and ECMT permits

Currently, UK lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence along with a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and EEA.

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.

ECMT permits will enable UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.

Operators with a Northern Ireland operator’s licence will not be required to obtain an ECMT permit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland. Operators with a Great Britain operator’s licence should apply for an ECMT permit if they plan to drive in the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019.

Only limited numbers of ECMT permits will be available. Application will be online for ECMT permits from 26 November to 21 December 2018.

To apply for ECMT permits, a vehicle operator licence online account is required.

[B] Trailer registration (UK Brexit law)

From 28 March 2019, commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg must be registered before they can travel through countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

This includes countries in the EU, EEA and Europe (listed in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).

Trailer registration is not required for trailers that are only used in the UK or only used for journeys between the UK and Ireland.

More details are in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).