Hauliers aiming to operate in Europe after Brexit need to act now, warns FTA

Agency driver

Commercial vehicle operators wanting to transport goods into EU-27 countries post-Brexit are being urged by the Freight Transport Association to apply for International haulage permits before applications close on Friday (January 18).

The FTA says a no deal exit from the European Union is a very real possibility and businesses must prepare accordingly. 

Commercial vehicle operators will need ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permits to transport goods to the European Union (EU) and EEA (European Economic Area) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on March 29, 2019.

Sarah Laouadi, European policy manager, at the FTA: “A no deal exit from the EU remains a distinct possibility and businesses must prepare for this eventuality.

“Applications for ECMT permits close this week and FTA advises businesses to submit their applications urgently, or risk being unable to travel in the event of a no deal outcome.”

She added: “The number of ECMT permits available to British operators is painfully short of the required total; it is likely to cover only 5% of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU.

“Without frictionless movement between the UK and the EU, the delicate supply chain our economy relies upon will be in jeopardy.

"With this in mind, FTA has prepared a list of emergency "mini-deals" and contingency measures, covering areas including truck permits, aviation and VAT, which we will demand the UK government prioritises with Brussels urgently to limit the disruption of a no deal scenario.

“The European Commission has already tabled a proposal whereby UK hauliers could carry out certain transport operations in the EU on the basis of mutual recognition of the Community Licence; however, this arrangement would not cover cabotage or transport between two EU countries and comes with many other restrictions and caveats.

"FTA will stand up for its members and seek to ensure the proposal is improved to meet the needs of the industry. In the meantime, operators should nevertheless apply for ECMT permits as there is no guarantee there will be a workable alternative in time for Brexit day.”

For more information or to apply for an ECMT permit visit

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  • Edward handley - 15/01/2019 14:30

    This is a crazy situation which the Government, MPs and the EU should never have allowed. Hauliers, and own account operators, are being told to apply for, and pay for, permits, which they may not need in the event of a sensible deal being reached. If a deal is reached, and the permits are not needed, the fees paid by operators are not refundable. If the permits are not awarded, the fees are not refundable either, so operators are being told to pay thousands of pounds for permits which they may not need, which they may not get if they do need them, and which they cannot operate without if they do need them. If a deal is not reached, then the permits will be needed, but there will not be anything like enough and operators sending trucks to Europe without them will either be turned back or fined huge sums of money. Currently 90 to 95% of trucks crossing the channel are foreign registered. If the Government had any balls they would tell the EC that permits must be available on a 1:1 basis - one permit for the UK for one permit for the EC. If not, foreign operators can send their trailers across unaccompanied to be moved by UK hauliers. We could, and should, allow a concession for Irish operators, but it would level the playing field and stop foreign operators undercutting UK ones by overloading, paying drivers less than minimum wage, forcing them to break the drivers hours rules, skimping maintenance and running on cheap diesel bought abroad.

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