A provisional agreement between the European Parliament and Member States to allow UK hauliers market access without ECMT permits for certain transport operations in the event of a No Deal Brexit has been welcomed by the FTA, but it warned the decision still needs to be approved and still leaves much to consider.
“Today’s announcement will give some respite concerned about the future of their businesses but is far from offering frictionless operating conditions and should still be viewed in light of the threat posed to the UK’s trading relationships by a No Deal departure from the EU,” said Freight Transport Association European policy manager Sarah Laouadi.
“The offer is only valid for nine months from Brexit date, could be revoked unilaterally by the EU without any appeal mechanism, and would not provide the same levels of access as UK hauliers currently enjoy,” said Laoudi. “Shippers have come to rely on fully flexible logistics operators, who can move goods as and when necessary, but this would not be possible under the contingency approved today.
“For instance, cabotage rights in the EU would be limited significantly, and progressively reduced during the nine month period under review, with no cabotage rights at all in the final two months of the contingency period. This would have a significant impact on those businesses trading in Europe as they return to the UK.
“While Mrs May’s offer of a Parliamentary vote to take No Deal off the table is welcome, businesses cannot trade on ‘what if’s?’ and ‘maybe’s’ – there is still much confirmation needed for modes of transport other than road and it is vital that clarification on future trading terms is provided if Britain is to keep trading efficiently after leaving the EU,” concluded Laouadi.