UK and European logistics sectors press for unified free trade deal amid fears of fragmentation

UK and European logistics sectors press for unified free trade deal amid fears of fragmentation

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Posted by: William Barns-Graham

A group of 33 logistics bodies across Europe have urged the lead negotiators for the UK and EU to secure a deal or risk a “patchwork of fragmented national arrangements”.  The open letter to Sir David Frost and Michel Barnier outlined how it was “in the interest of all parties to allow heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to move back and forth between the EU and the UK and transit through their respective territories in a way that is economically viable”. 

British signatories to the letter – seen by HGV UK – include the Road Haulage Association and Logistics UK. 

Permits and quotas 

The UK and EU today began the final scheduled round of negotiations for the future relationship, with the EU leaders’ summit in mid-October widely viewed as the deadline by which a deal needs to be reached.  The logistics industries have called for the parties to find a “reciprocal solution between the EU and the UK based on mutual recognition of standards, competences and certificates”.  They warn against the “reintroduction of haulage permits and quota systems that were never intended to cover volumes of trade as high as those currently taking place between the EU and the UK”. 

De facto Kent border 

Hauliers will be subject to new checks and controls for moving goods from the UK to the EU from the start of next year, with new requirements being phased in for imports into the UK over a period of six months. 

As a result of new customs requirements, the government has predicted a ‘worst case scenario’ of 7,000 lorries caught in traffic jams in Kent trying to carry goods over the English Channel. 

To avert this crisis, the government is creating a ‘Kent Access Permit’ to ensure goods travelling to crossings in Kent have the already filed the correct documentation to pass customs in advance. 

According to the Guardian, the system will be enforced by the police and automatic number plate recognition cameras. 

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