Transporting Goods By Lorry From the UK To Europe – And Vice Versa – Post Brexit

The UK has officially left the European Union and this means the haulage industry has seen some significant changes post Brexit.  Since the 29th March 2019 HGV drivers in the UK are required to carry additional documentation to drive in the European Union.

The following guide sets out the driver and haulage operator requirements and responsibilities.

Covid Testing

Before an HGV driver crosses the border into some other countries they are required to test negative for Covid 19.  HGV drivers arriving in England must do a Covid 19 test, unless they are fully vaccinated.  If you travel internationally daily then you will be required to do a test every 3 days. 

As the rules relating to Covid testing change regularly, drivers and operators should check the rules regularly to ensure they do not fall foul of them.

Documents, Permits and Licences

All EU and UK drivers will need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, also known as a CPC, if they want to work as an HGV driver.  The driver of any HGV will need to carry their driver CPC cards with them whilst they are driving in the UK and the EU.

For drivers working for UK haulage operators, there are no additional qualifications required beyond the CPC.  HGV drivers will not need an International Driving Permit to drive within the EU as long as they have a UK photo card licence issued in the UK.

During international journeys outside the UK, HGV drivers will be required to carry the correct vehicle documentation with them, including:

  • Vehicle and trailer insurance documents
  • Vehicle registration documentation
  • UK stickers (formerly GB stickers)
  • Vehicle operator licences and any permits

In order to transport goods internationally, you will need a Standard International Operator Licence. Commercial vehicle trailers that weigh over 750kg, and non commercial trailers weighing over 3500 kg must be registered before they are driven through most EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

If you have an abnormal load trailer and intend to drive it abroad, then you will need a keeper’s certificate for the abnormal load and you must carry it with you on your journey.  As different countries measure abnormal loads differently, you should check the load limits for each country you travel to and through.

Operators need to ensure that they comply with the rules relating to import and export licences, and obtain an EORI number.  All UK hauliers must ensure they have the correct licence for international work, and a UK Licence for the Community should also be carried on all vehicles.

The operators and the HGV drivers must ensure that they have all the necessary customs paperwork and information for their route.  The drivers must also be aware of what documents they will be required to present at the various stages of their journey.

Specialist Vehicle Approvals

If you transport:

  • Dangerous goods
  • Perishable food
  • Goods in a sealed load compartment

Then you will need to obtain specialist vehicle approvals.

CMR Notes

CMR notes are road consignment notes and are the standard contracts operators use to transport goods internationally by road.  The CMR note should confirm that the operating business has a contract with a supplier to carry the goods.

All international journeys require a CMR note.  The note should be completed by either the haulier, the business, or the freight forwarder.  Always keep at least three copies of the CMR so that there is a copy to accompany the goods being transported, a copy for the supplier, and a copy for the operating business.

Inland Border Checks

Inland border facilities will carry out checks and any HGV driver who plans to exit or enter the UK via Dover, Holyhead or the Eurotunnel will need to go to an inland border facility and:

  • Do Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) checks
  • To start or end a Common Transit Convention (CTC) movement
  • Do an ATA check

Accidents Abroad

If there is an accident abroad or in a EU country, the HGV driver should contact the operator and the insurance company.  Legal proceedings relating to the accident will be brought in the EI country.

Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) and Exit Summary Declarations (EXS)

From the 1st October 2021, exit summary and entry summary declarations will be needed for ALL exports from GB to the EU.  From the 1st July 2022, ENS declarations will be required for all movements from the EU to GB.

The operator will be required to submit an EXS declaration to the relevant customs authority of the country from which the goods are being exported.

New Rules in 2022 – Transporting Goods To And Through Europe

In 2022 new rules will be introduced relating to the transportation of goods through Europe.  The rules will form part of the UK’s deal with the EU under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. 

The new rules will require drivers to register some of their journeys on an online system, and vehicle operator licences will be needed for vans and cars/trailers, that transport goods through Europe.  

Transporting Goods From GB to the EU

From the January 1st 2022, full checks and export controls should be in place to control and monitor goods being exported.  Drivers will need to be vigilant to ensure that they have the correct documentation when collecting goods from authorised consignors when taking goods into the EU.

Drivers and companies need to be fully aware of the requirements of each country they will be entering.  

The government has set up haulier advice sites where drivers can get free Covid 19 tests, and undertake a free border readiness check to ensure they have all the documentation they need for their journey.

HGV Insurance

Heavy goods vehicles need comprehensive insurance to ensure the vehicle is protected alongside the driver and the goods carried by the vehicle. Depending on the business you work for, you may need a non-standard and bespoke insurance policy.

ISIS Insurance offers a wide variety of insurance options and quotes that cover everything a HGV might need when it comes to insurance, from skip lorries to refrigerated vehicles.