New International haulage rules for 2021

Haulage 2021

With rules ever changing in 2020 and businesses adapting to the ‘new normal’, 2021 will be no different following the United Kingdom’s EU departure. 

On January 1 2021 haulage operators will be required to hold a range of permits, that are applicable to the type of goods being delivered across Europe, in order to travel throughout countries in Europe.

So we wanted to give you the latest and up to date information to make sure you’re fully prepared ahead of the changes, before sending your drivers on their way.

Carry the correct operator’s license

The rules will change regarding drivers carrying the correct operating license when travelling to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Businesses that currently hold a Community License are required to apply for a UK License for the Community. The new license, and certified copies, will be issued automatically and is a legal requirement to be carried by the drivers when driving in the EU.

Please note you will still need a standard international operator’s license.

Get the right permits

Travelling through the EU can be complicated, but to make sure the journey for your driver is smooth, you must keep on top of all your permits. From January 1 you may be required to apply for an ECMT or other additional permits to support you in journeys to, or through countries in the European Union.

If your business falls into these categories you will be required to apply for them, and the applications must be submitted before November 20 2020.

Find out how to apply for ECMT permits and when to do it by clicking here.

Register your vehicle trailers

As of January 1 2021 a range of vehicle trailers will be required to be registered before you travel through most EU countries or Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Vehicles qualifying for this are as stated below.

  • Commercial trailers weighing over 750kg
  • Non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg

Click here to register your trailer for travel in the EU.

Abnormal load trailers

You will soon be required to hold a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer in order to use it within the EU. The driver will need to keep the permit inside the vehicle to show at any border crossing.

Different countries measure abnormal loads in certain ways, and it is important to check the laws before travelling to or through any countries that are a part of the EU.

Apply for a keeper’s certificate of an abnormal load by clicking here.

Vehicle registration documents 

From January 1 2021 the driver will be required to carry the vehicle registration documents when driving in the EU for less than 12 months. The driver can also be required to provide copies. 

  • The vehicle logbook (V5C), if you have one
  • A VE103 to show you’re allowed to use a hired or leased vehicle abroad

Check your vehicle is ready to cross the border

This is quite possibly the most important rule change of them all heading in to 2021, and one which could be the costliest if not followed. From January 1 you’ll be able to use the ‘check a HGV is ready to cross the border’ service to prove that your vehicle has the correct documents to travel through the EU. 

Businesses must use this service prior to travelling for vehicles accessing the EU via the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel to gain a ‘Kent Access Permit’ before they enter Kent. This service will be optional when using other ports in the UK.

This service will be fully operational by December 2020.

Please note you could be fined up to £300 for failure to use the service if travelling via the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

Display GB stickers

When travelling through the EU the driver must display a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle or on the rear of the trailer, even if the vehicle’s number is equipped with a GB national signifier.

You do not need to use this when driving in Ireland.

Vehicle and trailer insurance

From January 2021 a ‘green card’ is proof of motor insurance cover when driving abroad, mainly within the EU. Each of your drivers should plan to carry one with their vehicle they are travelling in.

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 two 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 traffic accident

If the worst should happen to your driver whilst travelling in the EU, such as a road accident, you are encouraged to contact their insurer as soon as possible.

From January 1 2021, any legal proceedings against either the responsible driver or the insurer of the vehicle will need to be brought in the EU or the EEA country where the accident took place. This means that the claim may need to be made in the local language.

You may not receive compensation in some parts of the EU if the accident is caused by an uninsured driver, or if the driver of the vehicle can’t be traced.

With time running out to make sure you and your business are ready for the changes being enforced from January 1 2021, then head to find out more.

Published: 18/11/2020


COVID-19 update

As a business all seven of our depots will remain open so we can continue to provide our usual services. The only change we will make is to close retail showrooms and remove displays until government advice differs. Vehicles can still be purchased, only showroom areas will close, and we have a large number of vans and trucks in stock. Currently we are working hard to upload them online but, in the meantime, please call us if you don’t find what you require.

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