Shortages of European hauliers willing to come to the UK is hitting exporters of recycled materials to the Continent, industry experts have said.
The driver pressure comes as the UK’s Traffic Commissioner warns that there will be a “limited” number of international road haulage permits available for UK drivers, which may be needed to travel in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The update on Brexit came yesterday from the Traffic Commissioner in guidance on the permit application scheme for hauliers operating in EU countries. The international permits are likely to be in demand from some hauliers in the UK waste sector due to the large volumes of recovered material exported to the continent.
But, a small survey carried out by letsrecycle.com, found that the recycling and RDF sector consider need for the permits is unlikely to have major consequences in comparison to any potential general disruption caused by Brexit.
In the RDF sector companies often use European haulage firms to transport the material, or the RDF is taken by ship and collected in Europe by a haulier.
However, one sector expert warned that a no-deal Brexit would “kill export”.
This is due to the extra paper work for sending material to the continent, and because UK companies would have to pay VAT in Europe and claim it back, causing “cashflow problems”.
But, the biggest issue is that UK companies exporting RDF may have to reapply to the Environment Agency for a TFS permit to export waste to Europe, he said (see letsrecycle.com story).
Similarly, in the paper sector it is understood that the majority of recovered paper transferred to Europe is carried out by European haulage companies on return journeys to the continent as ‘backloads’.
While not too concerned at present about the road haulage permits plan, one sector expert explained that the biggest issue is that European hauliers are reluctant to travel to the UK, and this is already having an impact.
“Any further disruption is going to cause major, major, problems with less companies willing to send trucks over,” he said.
According to the Traffic Commissioner, the ECMT international road haulage permit allows journeys between 43 member countries.
Currently, the UK issues Community Licences to cover international journeys, which are recognised in the EU.
However, the regulator says in the “unlikely” event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, commercial drivers will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA.
“Preparations have been made in case ECMT permits are needed for road haulage operations to the EU after March 2019,” the Traffic Commissioner statement says.
“The number of permits available will be limited and a permit needs to be carried in each vehicle that’s making an international journey.”
In order to apply for an annual ECMT permit, the Traffic Commissioner is reminding commercial drivers to register via the Vehicle Operator Licensing System by 12 November 2018. Applications for permits can be made between 26 November and 21 December.
There will also be some monthly ECMT permits available next year, the Traffic Commissioner said.
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Source: letsrecycle.com General