What must UK hauliers do to prepare for Brexit?

As the end of the Brexit transition period draws closer, key bodies like the Road Haulage Association (RHA), and the government themselves are urging businesses to prepare for what is beyond 2020.

Currently, Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and Europe are ongoing. While the Haulage Permits And Trailer Registration Act (2018) has been passed, agreements surrounding trade are still to be finalised.

Whether the UK has a deal with Europe or not, businesses, importers, and exporters in both the UK and the EU have been encouraged by the government to prepare for January 2021.

What to prepare for haulage after Brexit

From the 1st of January, all lorries must have the required shipment documentation completed in full before attempting to cross any borders. Otherwise, the lorries will not be permitted to cross, or board any ferries or trains.

There are many different requirements depending on what your job role is, where you are importing from or exporting to, and what goods you are transporting. The below information has been taken from the RHA website.


To ensure things run smoothly when crossing the borders, hauliers must check their drivers have the required documentation. Including an international driving permit (IDP), and any further licenses that may be needed for driving in other countries.

It is also likely that European Health Insurance Cards will no longer be valid for UK citizens, and so private health insurance should be considered and discussed with employees.


It is essential from January the 1st traders have the following things to complete the import process:

  1. Before any goods are moved traders must apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI number). Hauliers too will need an EORI number for their part of the process.
  2. To calculate the duties on an import and to make a customs declaration, traders will need their goods commodity codes.
  3. Also, traders must know the customs value of their goods, based on the WTO valuation agreement rules.
  4. Traders should consider if the process can be simplified by deferring customs declarations for standard goods.
  5. When moving goods internationally, traders should also consider setting up commercial arrangements or contracts. To help with the costs of transport duty, for example, as outlined in Incoterms rules.

Haulage Operators: UK & EU

A UK EORI Number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification number) is required for all international haulage operators to trade across the UK and EU. They are also important for border formalities. Many will already have one, but to apply for an EORI click here.

For UK haulage operators who work internationally, an EU EORI is needed to ensure cross-border trade continues smoothly. Also, it will be required for customs and EU Safety & Security Declarations.

Although EU International Haulage Operators will also need a UK and EU EORI Number, it is expected initially the UK will continue to allow the use of EU EORI numbers by EU haulage companies.

The RHA will advise when and how to obtain an EU EORI number, and if any of these requirements change.

All Operators

There will be a few changes for operators too when it comes to CRM consignment notes. They will still be needed as a delivery note but will require more details going forward. For example, a full commodity description is now needed. It is likely these will be more rigorously checked against customs declarations.

To maintain access to each other’s markets, both UK and EU Operators must await the results of the final Brexit Trade Agreement. In the meantime, or if the UK leaves with no deal, companies can fall back on quota limited ECMT permits.

Also, we do not yet know if cabotage will be permitted to continue in the new year from both UK and EU businesses. Therefore, it is recommended companies who use cabotage consider how they will continue to operate in the new year if it is disallowed.

UK Operators

Operators must register all trailers over 750kgs that will operate in international commercial road haulage, except for in Ireland.

Cross trade and arrangements for how UK operators will move goods across EU states are yet to be decided. However, some cross trade will be able to continue with the ECMT permit system.

Transport Managers & Drivers

For transport managers and drivers working in the EU, there will be a few changes regarding CPC qualifications. UK held CPCP qualifications will not be routinely recognised in the new year. This means UK transport managers will need to transfer their CPC qualification to the EU state where they are working.

As far as we know EU CPC qualifications will still be recognised and valid in the UK, however this could change later.

For van drivers and operators, the new customs processes that apply to HGVs will also apply to LGV operations. Van operators should collaborate with traders to ensure all the necessary paperwork is completed.

Finally, with regards to insurance, it is expected that Green Cards will be required for tractors and trailers.

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