UK Government Plans to Relax EU Cabotage Rules

The UK government is outlining a plan to relax EU cabotage rules in an effort to boost the countries supply chain, consultation starting on the proposal on the 14th October. We take a look at what this means and the impact it could have on UK hauliers.

UK Changes to EU Cabotage Rules

The UK Government plans to relax EU cabotage rules in an effort to boost the UK’s supply chain, the proposal is under consultation so what changes are being discussed?

The proposal is that a temporary extension to cabotage rights will allow EU hauliers to drop off an unlimited amount of goods for a period of 2 weeks before returning home. The current cabotage rules allow EU hauliers to make 2 cabotage trips within a seven day period.

The new proposals would come into force towards the end of 2021 and would last for a period of 6 months.

This cabotage relaxation would apply to all goods and the government state this measure is to tackle global supply chain pressures due to the pandemic and global economic pressures.

Official portrait of Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP crop 3

The UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“The long-term answer to the supply chain issues we’re currently experiencing must be developing a high-skill, high-wage economy here in the UK.

Alongside a raft of other measures to help the road haulage industry, we’ve streamlined the testing process and announced thousands of skills bootcamps to train new drivers. These measures are working – we’ve been seeing up to 3 times more applications for HGV driving licences than normal as well as a deserved rise in salaries.

The temporary changes we’re consulting on to cabotage rules will also make sure foreign hauliers in the UK can use their time effectively and get more goods moving in the supply chain at a time of high demand.”

(Government Reference)

Cabotage Changes Impact on UK Hauliers

The RHA (Road Haulage Association) was shocked by the government’s proposal to allow non-UK companies to work in the UK while they are based outside of the UK. They added that the companies and employees will pay no tax here in the UK.

Concerns were also targeted at safety standards as under cabotage rules the UK would have no control over compliance with safety standards with regards to foreign companies.

The RHA also acknowledged that the government’s proposal could help to alleviate the current UK haulage crisis, but long term solutions are necessary to deal with the issues in the haulage industry in the UK.

UK hauliers have expressed concern that allowing an open border to overseas drivers would allow them to make more deliveries than British drivers and with the economic climate, this plan would risk foreign companies undercutting UK companies who are already struggling with staffing shortages.

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