European Union (EU) Ministers have adopted laws that will allow UK airlines and trucking companies to continue providing services to and from the EU in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario.

For UK hauliers, this means the vast majority of journeys to the EU will be permit-free until the end of 2019. Truckers transiting the EU to third countries will require ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permits, according to the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

The UK has announced that it will grant equal access to the UK for EU airlines, hauliers and passenger transport operators. This measure was introduced to ensure that vital supply chains and connections are maintained. “The measures adopted by the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any scenario; deal or no deal,” Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said, while the UK Minister for Roads, Jesse Norman, confirmed that, “UK hauliers will have continued access to the EU after 29 March 2019, whatever the outcome.”

Temporary tariff regime in place

In another development, the UK Government has published details of the country’s temporary tariff regime for EU goods imported into the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Initially, the new tariffs will apply for the first year following Britain’s departure from the EU; in the meantime, a consultation has been commissioned by the UK Government to establish a permanent tariff regime.

Most goods imported into the UK will not attract any Customs duties under the provisional arrangements, with 87% of total imports designated for tariff-free access.

This week, the British government also signed a separate agreement with Norway which will ensure that current access arrangements for UK truck drivers, to the Nordic country, will continue after Brexit.

RHA rails against new truck import tariff

The UK Road Haulage Association (RHA) has criticised the UK Government’s plans for a 22% tariff on new HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicle) imported into the UK from Europe after Brexit.

The plan could see an extra £15,000 (US$19,800) added to the price of an EU-manufactured truck, raising it to £100,000 (US$132,000) from the current £85,000 (US$112,000).

“98% of everything we consume is moved on a truck at some point. We’re already facing a massive shortage of HGV drivers, but if we’re to face a lack of HGVs themselves, it could quickly cripple the UK supply chain, and therefore the very economy,” said Tom Cornwell, RHA area manager for Essex.

The RHA would urge the government to rethink this tariff on new vehicles to keep the UK moving, he added.