Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association have called on the UK government and the EU to reach a compromise over cabotage regulations and the access UK road transport operators have to EU markets.
Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK (formerly the Freight Transport Association) said: “We are very hopeful that the EU will recognise the economic benefits to having continued access to the UK market for its hauliers, while acknowledging the contribution that UK hauliers bring to their own market.”
“Logistics UK is hopeful that a compromise can be reached in negotiations – without one, the situation for both UK and EU hauliers is very bleak, as the alternative permit system provides very little access on either side of the border, and the resulting slowdown in traffic across the border would put the nation’s interconnected supply chain at risk.”
The Road Haulage Association said that not allowing road transport operators the same access rights that the UK is willing to negotiate with the EU would severely damage businesses on both sides of the Channel.
Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The UK government is trying to provide symmetry but in terms of market access the EUs position is far more damaging because of the balance, or imbalance, of trade.
“85% of the volume of goods that come into the UK is moved by European hauliers – UK operators are responsible for the movement of only 15%.
“The government approach is to try and negotiate access to the EU while trying to maintain symmetry, but the EU’s current decision puts them at a disadvantage. Maintaining the supply chain between the Great Britain and the rest of Europe can only be achieved on a level playing field.
“The UK is taking a liberal view – suggesting that cabotage remains on the table. But symmetry works both ways. If the EU remains adamant to remove cabotage, the UK will have no choice but to follow suit. If this is the outcome then the intransigence of the EU means that they will be shooting themselves in the foot.”