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‘Huge obstacles’ remain on the road to Brexit
14 September 2018
The government's technical notices for a No Deal Brexit will create an array of red tape and paperwork, says the Freight Transport Association, and still do not answer key questions.
Pauline Bastidon, FTA's head of European Policy, urged negotiators to continue to press for a deal: “While it is encouraging to finally see some of the government's plans for a No Deal Brexit, which provide helpful clarifications in some areas, there are still key processes to be agreed if the UK logistics sector and "just in time" economy is to be protected.
“The fact that the UK driving licence would only be accepted in partnership with an international driving permit would create delays and confusion for many operators, some of whom may not even be aware that they would require additional paperwork. Of real concern is that these permits would not be available to purchase at every post office, (the papers suggest 2,500 outlets, rather than the full network), and will not be on sale until 1 February, leaving operators precious little time to undertake the necessary administration ahead of Brexit day itself.
“No detail has yet been provided on the issue of whether permits will be required by vehicles travelling to and from Europe - and time is marching on. At this point, we expect only 1,224 permits to be made available to UK hauliers every year if they wish to travel to the European Union - that number pales into insignificance when you consider that the Port of Dover can handle up to 10,000 vehicle movements each day. Without a significant improvement in the planned number of accepted permits for HGVs travelling across the border, there is a very real threat to the integrity of the UK's supply chain, and delays and product shortages could be a reality while alternative suppliers are sourced and arranged.”
In addition to the need for an agreement on the number of road permits available to UK operators, there is still no clarification on how air freight will be able to move into and out of the UK without a new access agreement - an issue which many people are now well aware of. But, as Ms Bastidon continues, the road freight issue has not yet become a priority for those responsible for the negotiations on both sides of the Channel, and without agreements with the EU as a whole, or individual countries, there could still be major delays to trade.
"Efforts to establish bilateral agreements on permits could be a solution for UK business, and FTA welcomes the government's proposal to pursue these. However, these would still impose unwelcome burdens and cost on British hauliers seeking to acquire the necessary permits and there is no reassurance in the No Deal papers that there would be sufficient to cover all transport moving to and fro across the UK's borders.”