At 00:00 hours on 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom (UK) is scheduled to leave the European Union. Given the persisting uncertainty regarding the nature of the UK’s departure from the EU and the potential future EU-UK relationship, the commercial road freight and passenger transport industry has been facing serious challenges on both sides of the Channel in its attempts to prepare for what lies ahead.
This state of affairs could have very serious implications for our industry. A “no-deal” Brexit is becoming increasingly likely. As of now, the EU-UK preliminary Withdrawal Agreement has still not been approved by the UK House of Commons. The EU has been strengthening its contingency planning efforts in order to prepare for a “no-deal” Brexit, in the hope that the UK will reciprocate these measures. The contingency plans comprise measures in a limited number of areas, including passenger and goods transport by road, where the EU considers that a “no-deal” scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27. The contingency measures in place for the road transport sector will apply only until the end of 2019.
IRU has been actively engaging with both EU and UK stakeholders so as to defend the interests of the road transport industry in this planning process. Over the past few months, several meetings have been held with UK and EU officials, customs and Brexit attachés as well as members of the European Commission’s Article 50 Task Force, with a view to gathering as much useful information as possible to help IRU members best prepare their road transport operators for a “no-deal” outcome. This work has been most intensive in terms of the road freight transport and logistics sector, the results of which can be found in the preparedness document and the information provided on the technical rules that could apply after Brexit.
As regards passenger transport, the scope of the EU contingency plan for road transport –initially limited to freight – was extended to cover bus and coach transport in the area of scheduled lines and special regular services, following the active engagement of IRU with a number of key stakeholders.
The upcoming weeks will be decisive for the future of both road freight and passenger transport: IRU will continue its active lobbying with key stakeholders to promote the interests of the road transport industry at every turn.