Fresh fears of post-Brexit food shortages as three quarters of UK transport companies face being shut out of the EU

Lorries at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent. Lorry drivers are being left in the dark over

Lorries at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent. Lorry drivers are being left in the dark over planning for Brexit, risking their safety, a union has warned; Gareth Fuller - Credit: PA

Three quarters of British truckers could be blocked from entering the EU if there is no Brexit trade deal in place by the end of the year, raising fresh concerns over food shortages in the UK.

Only 2,088 firms have received permits to enter Europe from January next year - down from 8,348 the year previous.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said companies, already in financial difficulty because of coronavirus, needed a solution quickly in order to prepare for the 'Christmas peak'.

You may also want to watch:

But Brexit negotiations remain deadlocked, with an agreement by October - the time needed to implement a deal before the end of the transition period on December 31 - being highly unlikely.

Most Read

Britain would then be reliant on a limited number of permits, 2,088 to be precise, through the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) scheme.

Sarah Laouadi, the FTA's European policy manager, said the situation showed how vital it was to secure a free trade agreement with the EU.

'If you learn whether you have the right to continue operating as a company on December 28 and the only fallback plan is the ECMT system, which requires applications and allocations for permits, it will be too late,' she warned.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was 'optimistic' that an agreement could be reached, but referred to protecting only 'the substantial flow of international haulage'.

UK hauliers will lose unfettered access to enter Europe once the UK leaves the EU on January 1, 2021.

The government has announced £705 million to help with post-Brexit trade checks and the building of 12 lorry parks near Dover port and others around the country.

Last October, when a no-deal Brexit seemed a probable reality, transport companies who made the most cross-Channel journeys were prioritised, which downgraded trade between Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

MORE: EU receives UK request to build border posts in Northern Ireland as part of post-Brexit arrangements

If the same strategy is adopted again, businesses crossing the Irish Sea might need to reroute, disrupting supply chains, the FTA warned.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus