With MPs in deadlock, the EU and the UK have agreed a further Brexit delay until 31 October. The ongoing process of leaving the EU has not brought much in the way of good news, but this delay could be a positive sign for many British businesses – including hauliers and freight service providers. Although there are certainly no guarantees, it does give more time for cross-party talks to continue to negotiate a withdrawal agreement.

In light of this latest delay, we’re going to explain what it means for the haulage industry and how you can prepare for every eventuality.

What’s the latest on Brexit?

The UK was originally due to leave the EU on 29 March, a deadline that then shifted to 12 April. As it stands the deadline has been extended to 31 October, which gives the politicians an additional six months to try and reach an agreement. Most business owners, and particularly those in the haulage and freight industries, will hope that the UK Government will use that additional time wisely to propose a deal in place.

However, as well as an opportunity to agree a deal, the delay also presents more complications and uncertainty. One additional consideration is that the UK must now take part in the European elections on 23 May. If we fail to do so, the UK will have to leave the EU on 1 June without a deal.

Although no one wants to be left in limbo for longer than necessary, the silver lining is that there’s now more time for cross-party talks to take place. Talks are currently being held between government ministers and labour leaders to try and reach a compromise deal. If that deal is approved by Parliament, the UK will be able to negotiate an amended deal with the EU and potentially leave before the new deadline. The current trading conditions would then remain unchanged during the transition period for at least 21 months. If an agreement can’t be reached between the political parties, we will be leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal in place.

What does this mean for hauliers and freight service providers?

The government is still committed to leaving the EU with a deal as quickly as possible. However, there’s also a very real chance that the compromise plan will not yield results. If we do leave without a deal, it’s essential that you take a few steps to prepare now. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has created this checklist for hauliers and logistics service providers to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. It includes the following:

Preparing to drive in the EU following Brexit

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your UK driving licence to be able to drive in EU and EEA countries. The necessary permit will depend on the countries you plan to drive in. You will need a 1926 IDP for Liechtenstein, a 1949 IDP for Spain, Cyprus and Malta, and a 1968 IDP to drive in all other EU countries.

You can get an International Driving Permit by visiting your nearest Post Office branch. You’ll need a valid UK driving licence, a valid passport and a standard passport photo.

Checking passport validity from October 2019 onwards

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October, new passport rules will apply. Hauliers will need to have at least six months left on their passports to travel in the majority of European countries (you can see the list of countries affected here). Before travelling, you should check you have enough time left on your passport and make sure you apply to renew your passport at least 3 weeks before travelling.

Other urgent changes

Regardless of Brexit, all UK trailers used for international commercial road haulage above 750kg need to be registered from 28 March 2019, and you can register them here. All international operators MUST also apply for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This will be needed for customs under all Brexit outcomes. It takes just 5-10 minutes to apply and it’s completely free.

For more guidance on any of the steps you should take to prepare, please take a look at the RHA checklist.

Driving your business forward

We will keep all of our UK and European haulage contractors and business customers up to date with Brexit and its impact on the industry. Check our blog for all the latest. We also recommend that you sign up for email updates from the government so you can keep abreast of further changes as and when they occur.