Trucks loaded with cargo could be flown into the UK as part of no-deal Brexit

The UK government has issued a tender worth up to GBP300m calling for companies to transport trucks, trailers and vans loaded with critical goods via either aircraft, rail or ship in the event of snarl ups on the boarder following Brexit. The four-year agreement will start on September 18 and requires companies to put in place a framework for the transportation of freight vehicles – meaning wheeled goods vehicles, including vans, trucks, lorries, HGVs and other equivalents, or wheeled trailers or semi-trailers, whether accompanied or unaccompanied – between the UK and the European Economic Area and/or between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The framework is in order to “meet the strategic objective of supporting the continued flow of category one goods in light of disruption events”.

Suppliers securing a place on the framework agreement will have the opportunity to take part in ‘call-off’ mini-competitions for freight capacity contracts when they come up. “The first of these is expected to be in place as part of Government’s contingency planning for a ‘No Deal’ European Union (EU) exit on October 31,” the tender states. Category one goods are those goods identified by the UK government as being critical to the preservation of human and animal welfare and/or national security, such as medicines, baby milk, medical devices, military items and critical chemicals.

The government envisages a total of 25 operators, but there could be more if companies are rated evenly by the procurement process. On the freighter front, only those aircraft that can accommodate a van or truck will be likely to win the tender, limiting the process to operators of aircraft such as production B747s or Antonovs. The moves comes as there are concerns that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place allowing goods to continue moving freely, there could be huge hold ups for Road Feeder Service providers and hauliers at ferry ports.

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