Saturday May 25, 2024

UK drafts legislation giving EU hauliers ‘no-deal' Brexit access

CEP firms can keep trucking
CEP firms can keep trucking

The UK government has drawn up draft legislation giving EU hauliers access to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit and which would appear to allow CEP operators to truck shipments between their hubs on both sides of the Channel ahead of final distribution, as well as permitting cross-border deliveries between shippers and customers directly.

It follows a move by the European Commission at the end of last year to propose legislation that would confer on UK hauliers basic rights to conduct operations to, from and through the EU for a limited period of nine months after exit, if there is no deal, on condition that the UK agrees to reciprocal access for EU hauliers.

In a statement to Parliament yesterday, transport minister Jesse Norman said the government was making preparations to allow hauliers and other businesses to continue to transport goods between the UK and the EU, once the UK has left the EU. These include preparations for leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

“Accordingly, I am today (5 February 2019) laying a draft haulage statutory instrument designed to ensure that UK law continues to operate effectively in this area if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The government will continue to license UK hauliers to the same high safety, environmental and operating 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. Over 80% of haulage between the UK and continental Europe is undertaken by EU hauliers and it is important to ensure that the UK’s supply chains are protected.”

He underlined that the UK needs to be sure that foreign products can be imported and UK products exported as usual, noting: “Our approach of offering access at this stage aims both to provide the reassurance needed for international freight flows to continue, and also to help ensure reciprocal arrangements for UK hauliers.

“On its side, the European Commission has proposed legislation that would allow UK hauliers basic rights 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.

“This proposal is predicated on the UK’s granting equivalent access for EU hauliers to the UK, and the legislation laid before the House today provides for that access. Indeed, it is a more liberal offer, and we are discussing with the Commission whether there is scope for them to extend the EU’s offer so as to match ours.”

Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the government will review the UK’s offer to EU hauliers, Norman explained. “Our legislation contains provision to suspend EU hauliers’ rights to undertake cabotage operations in the UK. We are putting in place measures to introduce such a suspension, which could be put into effect immediately after exit day if needed. Our expectation, however, is that such a suspension will not be necessary.”

In parallel with these measures, the minister said the UK has 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, the UK has an allocation of 984 annual and 2,832 short-term (valid for 30 days) ECMT road transport permits for 2019, giving access between 43 countries which include all EU member states except Cyprus.

“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. But it is important to continue to prepare for all possible scenarios, 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 these permits,” Norman added.

As for the implications of Brexit for the air transport sector, the EU is set to give airline groups a seven-month deadline to overhaul their shareholder make-up in order to retain full flying rights within the EU if the UK quits the bloc without a deal at the end of next month, according to the Financial Times.

“EU member states are broadly supporting the approach ahead of Britain’s scheduled departure on March 29. Aviation is a closely-regulated sector that faces a double blow from Brexit, since an abrupt UK departure from the EU would disrupt not only flying schedules but the licenses that carriers currently use to operate, which are administered based on the nationality of shareholders,” the newspaper said.


SourceUK government, international media

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