Hard Brexit could disrupt cross-border road freight

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Road freight between the UK and EU could be seriously impacted in the event of a “no deal brexit”, which is sometimes called a “hard Brexit”. As it stands at the moment, if a truck or lorry can be legally driven in the UK then it is also eligible to be driven in the other member states. There is no limit to the number of such licences that can be issued. New regulations could limit the number of licences available and also lead to border delays.

In the latest guidance from the British government released yesterday, it was confirmed that a no-deal Brexit would see Britain revert to an old set of international arrangements which will come into force on Brexit day next March. The governing laws will become the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic which they expect should enable UK drivers to continue driving in EU countries after the UK has left.

But the guidance notes that vehicles might also require an International Driving Permit appropriate for the countries to be visited that would need to be obtained before departure and carried whilst driving for both commercial and private purposes in the EU.

The latest documents about a “no deal Brexit” can be found online and the specific information about road freight can be found here. The Road Haulage Association has warned that new arrangements could lead to delays and disruption with deliveries:

Goods are moved by road because of speed and efficiency – the UK relies on it’s incredibly efficient supply chain for consumers and businesses to get the things they need. This would very quickly put the manufacturing sector under severe pressure and the hauliers they rely on out of business. It’s essential that if there’s a “no deal” it is accompanied with the already agreed implementation period to give businesses a chance to avoid chaos in the supply chain.
– Richard Burnett, chief executive, Road Haulage Association

Obviously, if there was disruption to road freight, that could have a significant impact for ecommerce merchants and logistics firms that are used to fulfil online retail sales. Obviously it’s still too early to know whether there will be disruption but the end of the free movement of goods, even a hard Brexit is avoided, will obviously make all UK-EU importing and exporting a more cumbersome experience.


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