Applications for international road haulage permits opened this week and the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the business organisation representing the logistics industry, is advising commercial vehicle operators wanting to transport goods into EU-27 countries post-Brexit to apply sooner rather than later. Despite the recent progress in Brexit negotiations, a No Deal exit from the European Union is not off the table for the UK and businesses should still prepare for this eventuality, according to FTA.
Commercial vehicle operators will need ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permits to transport goods to the EU and EEA (European Economic Area) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019. The applications for 2019’s annual permits opened on 26 November 2018 and close on 21 December 2018. And with the expected allocation of permits likely to cover only 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU, operators are being urged to apply now or risk being unable to travel in the event of a No Deal outcome.
Sarah Laouadi , European Policy Manager, FTA commented: “While FTA is relieved to see progress in the Brexit negotiations regarding the withdrawal agreement, until a deal is ratified, nothing is certain, and businesses should continue their contingency planning in case a No Deal exit occurs. Applications for ECMT permits open this week and FTA advises businesses to submit their submissions in a timely manner before they close; applications are only open for a month which leaves scant time to apply.”
The Department for Transport expects the number of applications for ECMT permits will exceed the number of permits available – British operators will only have access to 984 annual permits for 2019, which will be restricted to the most modern vehicles (EURO VI) – so the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency will allocate permits based on a set of criteria.
Laouadi continues: “The number of ECMT permits available to British operators is painfully short of the required total. Whilst it is currently the only available continency for hauliers to mitigate the risk of being barred from operating in Europe after Brexit, it falls short of FTA’s “Keep Britain Trading” demands in terms of transport market access. Without frictionless movement between the UK and the EU, the delicate supply chain our economy relies upon will be in jeopardy; FTA continues its plea to government to avoid a disorderly departure that risks the UK grinding to a halt. Parliament must now support the draft agreement to secure the transition period and give negotiators more time to devise a transport solution that would remove the need for ECMT permits”.
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Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
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