The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This email explains what goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021.
Carry the right operator licence
From 1 January 2021, the operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change.
The Community Licence will be phased out and replaced with a UK Licence for the Community. The new licence and certified copies will be issued automatically and must be carried when driving abroad.
You will still need a standard international operator license.
Get the right permits
From 1 January 2021, you may need an ECMT or other additional permits for journeys to or through the EU.
You should apply for these in case they’re needed.
You can apply for ECMT permits for 2021 between 2 November and 20 November 2020.
Register your vehicle trailers
You must register these types of trailers before you drive to or through most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway:
commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg
Abnormal load trailers
You now need a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad. Keep the certificate in the vehicle to show at border crossings.
Some countries measure abnormal loads differently from the UK. Check with each country you’re travelling through to find out if the load you’re transporting counts as abnormal there.
Vehicle registration documents
Your drivers will need to carry your vehicle registration documents when driving abroad for less than 12 months. This can be either:
the V5 (log book) if you have one
A VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad
Check an HGV is ready to cross the border
You’ll be able to use the ‘check an HGV is ready to cross the border’ service to prove that an HGV has the right EU import and commodities documents for the goods it’s carrying before it crosses the GB / EU border.
You must use this service for HGVs travelling via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel to get a ‘Kent Access Permit’ before they enter Kent.
*You can be fined £300 if you do not use the service when you travel via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.*
It will be optional to use the service for all other GB ports.
The service will be fully operational by December 2020.
Display GB stickers
Display a Great Britain (GB) sticker on the rear of the vehicle and trailer, even if the vehicle has a number plate with the Euro symbol or a GB national identifier.
You do not need to display a GB sticker to drive in Ireland.
Vehicle and trailer insurance
A ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Your drivers should plan to carry one for the vehicle they’re driving in the EU and EEA from 1 January 2021.
Your drivers will need to carry multiple green cards if:
you have fleet insurance - you’ll need a green card for each vehicle
their vehicle is towing a trailer - they will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (separate trailer insurance is needed in some countries)
there are 2 policies covering the duration of the trip, for example, if the policy renews during the journey
Contact your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you need green cards.
What to do if your vehicle is involved in a road accident
If your drivers are involved in a road accident in an EU country they should in the first instance contact their insurer.
From 1 January 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or EEA country where the accident happened. You might have to make your claim in the local language.
You may not get compensation in some countries if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or if the driver cannot be traced.