Amidst the turmoil of COVID-19 lurks the approaching deadline of 1 January 2021, when the UK ends its transition phase of its exit from the EU — although, a trade deal is still yet to be reached.
Negotiations are still ongoing, and recently the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Logistics UK have come together with 31 European road haulage associations to encourage negotiators to reach a deal as soon as possible.
Hauliers are looking for a reciprocal deal that benefits all, especially when 2.3 million trucks travel between the UK and Europe every year.
Without a deal the industry faces the possibility of patchy arrangements nationally, or the reality of a shortage of transport capacity on EU-UK routes due to quota systems being resurrected – leading to fulfilment issues and an impact on supply chains.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier, and UK chief negotiator David Frost, the associations’ state, “Ending the transition period without an agreement between the EU and the UK is not an option for our industry. We believe reaching a robust compromise on a road haulage chapter as part of such agreement is both achievable and indispensable.
“It is 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, without resorting to 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.”1
So what action can hauliers take now?
Haulage businesses must be prepared for the very real possibility of a ”no deal” Brexit, and should plan their steps to keep their businesses moving.
If you import or export between the UK and Europe it’s important to:
- Consider how you will make customs declarations.
- Take action now if you are intending to have a third party complete your customs declarations for you, and work with them or their organisation to keep your business moving post 1 January 2021.
- Ensure you check whether your imported goods are eligible for staged import controls.2
More information can be found on the UK Government website, including a number of helpful videos.
Will my commercial insurance be affected?
If no agreement is reached between the UK and EU, there will be a legal requirement to carry a Green Card when driving in Europe.3
Currently, your UK-based insurance policy should cover you for driving in the EU, but if the Green Card system is implemented, anyone driving abroad under a UK insurance policy must carry a physical Green Card. Additionally, if you intend to tow a trailer or caravan, you’ll need a separate Green Card for it.
If you are planning on European deliveries post 1 January 2021, and an agreement hasn’t been reached, you will need to notify your broker in good time, so that a Green Card can be issued from your insurer to you in advance of travel.
Although some insurers will be delivering online solutions, allowing you to print locally, this isn’t a guarantee for all insurance providers.
As COVID-19 is also undoubtedly having an effect on many of the supply chains that keep the haulage industry moving4, it is vital that where possible, issues such as green card requirements are dealt with in a timely fashion to avoid further delays to your operation.
For up to date information on these changes and their impact on your insurance, speak to your broker who can support you.