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What to do to carry out international road haulage from 1 Jan 2021

by Ian Marrow

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 licence.

The government have outlined additional guidance, updated on the 23rd October, detailing some key actions and considerations for those operating goods vehicles in and out of the EU from 2021. The guidance issued is detailed below:

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.

You can find out how to apply for ECMT permits and when to do it, by following this link .

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

Click here to register your trailer to take it abroad now.

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.

Applying for a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer to use it abroad can be done via a form found here .

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 vehicle log book (V5C), if you have one
  • Or 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.

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.

Get legal advice if you need more information about this.

What lorry and goods vehicle drivers need to do

Find out what your drivers need to do to drive professionally in the EU from 1 January 2021.

Our team are of course here to help if you wish to discuss this or any of the recent government announcements in more detail. If you have any questions about the impact a hard Brexit could have on your business, please contact us .

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