With shoppers ordering online more than ever, it is essential for the UK’s road network to remain in top form so the goods can reach their destination. Hauliers are grateful that the UK has left the European Union with a deal but wait to see the longer term consequences of Brexit. Covid-19 has also put pressure on the network, as witnessed over Christmas when France closed its border to traffic. If and when the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit subside, the environment may return to news headlines and vehicles will be under pressure to become greener.
This article was first published in the January 2021 issue of Logistics Insight, subscribe to the magazine by clicking here.
The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement (TCA) delivers across several areas for UK automotive, limiting damage in some others, and keeping the sector connected to a market that accounts for eight out of 10 of its vehicle exports, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The TCA delivers on the core ask to avoid tariffs for most finished vehicles, parts and components. The inclusion of specific, albeit challenging, provisions on transitional phase-ins for both electrified vehicles and batteries is also welcome.
Another organisation to welcome the agreement was the Road Haulage Association (RHA). RHA chief executive Richard Burnett commented: “There are, of course, many details to be finalised and confirmed but UK traders and hauliers, dependent upon trouble-free access to the Irish Republic and continental Europe will still be hit by vast amounts of new paperwork processes and of course border checks. What we do know is that there will be no 10% tariff on new lorries and that is both welcome and a relief.”
Logistics UK has written to transport minister Lord Agnew to request an urgent review of traffic management and welfare arrangements for HGV drivers in the wake of chaos experienced when France closed its borders to traffic for two days over the Christmas period. “In the first few months of the year, the UK relies on fresh food supplies from across the Channel to keep our supermarkets stocked,” says Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director at Logistics UK. “But this lack of concern for driver welfare could impact on the willingness of EU hauliers to send their drivers to this country, and we want to protect the integrity of the supply chain.”
Europa Road has launched Europa FLOW, a new customs product to preserve transit times and the flow of goods between the UK and Europe. Europa has spent the last 12 months developing this simple and effective customs process designed to minimise transit time delays. The basic premise of the product is that delays are created by the need to contact importers prior to delivery, to agree terms, and collect VAT and duty prior to delivery. It achieves this by Europa acting as an EU Global VAT representative for its customers, zero rating EU import VAT and billing duty and fees back to the UK party.
It is most welcome to see the industry looking to the future with a positive attitude.