There is still an increasing concern amongst the haulage industry that there are still a lot of important questions that need answering and it is abundantly clear that there needs to be significant progression from the current position.
What is apparent is that we still do not know:
- If the system will limit access to permits by quota;
- If the UK will require EU hauliers to obtain reciprocal permits to enter the UK; and
- If the UK will allow EU operators to enter the UK using their current community licences.
The current system
An EU Community Licence allows drivers to use a single permit for trips between all EU member states. The licence also allows transit traffic through EU member states and to and from non-member countries. Of course as the UK prepares to no longer become an EU member state, the EU Community Licence becomes extinct.
There are some non-EU countries, such as Russia, Morocco and Ukraine, where the UK has an agreement which allows hauliers to travel to or through those countries using a bilateral road haulage permit. You can obtain a permit for one complete journey at a time.
What the industry wants
Ideally, the industry wants a comprehensive deal with the EU covering international road haulage. Failing that, bilateral permits should be agreed with all EU member states that the EU Community Licence currently covers and these permits will not be restricted by a quota or require a haulier to go through an allocation process.
In reality though, there is no guarantee that any given EU member state will agree to a bilateral permit arrangement with the UK; this is where the concern lies.
Should it be the case that an EU member state won't agree to bilateral permit arrangement without a quota, the Government will use an allocation process to distribute the limited permits.
Essentially, the Government will decide which operators will be allowed to work internationally. The consultation response says allocations will be based on the following criteria:
- Intensity of use;
- Industrial sector in which the haulier operates;
- Vehicle emissions; and
- Existing International Business.
This criteria is only listed in consultation response, not the legislation, it is still unclear as to what information a haulier will have to provide upon application for such permit.
To summarise, it would appear that anything other than a comprehensive deal with the EU will cause a unprecedented disruption in the efforts of many international hauliers to simply carry goods to, or through, an existing EU member state.