Businesses of all sizes are struggling to grapple with the post-Brexit rules. The haulage industry is at the sharp end of this.

The UK’s complete exit from the EU has been marked by mass confusion. Businesses of all sizes are struggling to grapple with the post-Brexit rules. The haulage industry is at the sharp end of this. With that in mind, Walker Movements, specialists within the trucking and haulage industry share’s some useful information on the post-Brexit changes as they stand now. These may be updated at any point.

Customs documentation is now essential

In theory, you should be able to rely on your customers to provide you with the correct documentation. In practice, it may be very much in your best interests to double-check what they provide. This is particularly true if you are accepting loads from multiple customers.

The issue is that one set of incorrect paperwork can lead to a whole load being delayed or turned away. This means that simple mistakes can cause havoc with finely-tuned schedules. What’s more, if a load is being shared between multiple customers, the issue could damage businesses which did get their paperwork correct.

All in all, therefore, it probably makes practical sense to double-check your customers’ paperwork. At worst, you can turn away loads which are clearly going to be rejected. At best, you can get the paperwork corrected so that the load can proceed smoothly.

Be aware that you will need to be able to produce the right customs paperwork to get a Kent Access Permit. Currently this scheme is only mandated for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes leaving the UK via the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel. It could, however, be extended to other areas.

Drivers need to be aware of personal imports

It’s already been widely reported that Dutch officials confiscated meat sandwiches from UK lorry drivers as soon as they crossed into the EU. On the one hand, it would be reasonable to ask what made British meat turn potentially dangerous overnight. On the other hand, the restrictions themselves are not particularly unusual.

Whatever way you look at it, you get the same lesson. Post-Brexit drivers need to be aware of what they can and cannot take into the EU. Possibly, more importantly, they need to be aware that there may be restrictions on what they can and cannot bring from the EU into the UK.

Remember NI is in a special situation

Be especially alert when taking loads to NI. Some businesses, especially smaller ones, may not have grasped that new customs rules apply. Even if they do, they may still be trying to work out how to put them into practice.

Updated passport requirements

The requirement for drivers to carry a passport is nothing new. There are, however, stricter requirements about the validity of the passport. Post-Brexit it needs to be less than 10 years old and be due to expire at least 6 months after the end of the trip. At present, it seems unlikely that drivers will need visas. It is, however, far from impossible that this will change in the future.

Updated licencing requirements

If your drivers have a traditional paper driving license, then they will need an International Driving Permit to drive through the EU (or Liechtenstein). If they have a photocard driving licence, then, under current rules, they don’t.

That said, IDPs only cost £5.50 each so it might be handy to invest in them as a precaution. For example, if your drivers ever need to hire a vehicle, then the rental company will probably insist that they have an IDP.

CPC rules stay the same for now

The Certificate of Professional Competence came about as the result of an EU directive. That directive is still very much in force in the EU. Fortunately, for the time being, at least, UK-issued CPCs are still accepted in the EU. In principle, that could change in future. In practice, as long as the UK’s CPCs meet the EU’s standards, they will almost certainly continue to be accepted.

What could, however, feasibly, happen, is that the UK decides to fork its CPCs into EU-valid and domestic versions. This could potentially give domestic-only hauliers an easier route to safety compliance. It would, however, mean that international hauliers would need to double-check that their drivers had the right qualification.

EHIC cards are no more

The UK has ceased to have reciprocal healthcare agreements with EU countries. This means that it’s vital that all drivers have health insurance to cover them across all trips. Ideally, this health insurance should pay all expenses upfront for them.

Be aware, however, that there can be complications in getting health insurance accepted. For completeness, it was not always straightforward to get EHIC cards accepted. This means that drivers may end up being forced to pay some expenses out of pocket and then reclaim them on their insurance. It’s therefore advisable to provide them with a means of payment such as a company credit card.

You also need to make sure that drivers are clearly aware of what is and is not covered by their employer’s insurance. The nature of HGV driving means that it’s unlikely they’ll engage in “risky activities”. It is, however, always possible that they may inadvertently get caught out unless you make the terms of the policy very clear to them.

Vehicles need new documentation

Post-Brexit you need to ensure your vehicles and trailers have a GB sticker affixed. You also need an International Motor Insurance Certificate (better known as a green card) for each of your vehicles and trailers. This has to be provided by your insurer and you should allow at least a month for the process.

You may also want to review your insurance policy itself. The UK government has advised that UK nationals involved in a road accident in the EU should make their claim in the country where the accident took place.

In other words, even if you have insurance, you may not be covered if you are the victim of an accident. It remains to be seen how the insurance industry will respond to this. One distinct possibility is that they will offer to honour these claims if you pay a higher premium and/or buy an add-on.

Rules on working hours stay the same

While change is all around, there are some constants. All UK drivers travelling through the EU will still need to abide by the EU Drivers Hours Rules. Freight companies will therefore need to stay alert to any future updates to them.

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