A decision on whether or not to continue the current extension of cabotage rules has been put out to public consultation.

In October 2021, the government said it was allowing until the end of April unlimited cabotage movements of HGVs for up to 14 days after arriving in the UK on a laden international journey.

The decision was taken to alleviate significant pressures in the supply chain associated with the driver shortage.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was now seeking views and evidence about whether these additional rights should continue beyond April.

It also requested information on the uptake of cabotage rights, including the uptake by particular sectors, as well as the positive and negative effects of the extensions to date.

The DfT said the evidence suggested that there had been take up of the cabotage rights, but it had been less than anticipated.

It said: “While measures to tackle driver shortages are having an effect, issues remain.

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“The government wishes to hear views on whether a short-term extension of the additional cabotage rights could ease particular supply chain pressures.

“These pressures could be immediately after the extra cabotage rights are due to end or later in the year, for example in the busy period up to Christmas.”

At the time of the extension in October, Logistics UK said the move would force more drivers to park up overnight in lay-bys.

Asked how it would respond to the latest consultation, James Firth, Logistics UK head of road freight regulation policy, said: “Logistics UK members - both shippers and road freight operators - supported the option of extensions to cabotage rules at a time when, ahead of the Christmas peak, there was genuine concern over the integrity of the supply chain as a result of the driver shortage.

“At the time, Logistics UK called for it to be used only as a short-term measure and while members would say the challenges of the driver shortage are not past, there is not the level of concern that there was in November.

“Logistics UK will be consulting with its shipper and road council members before responding to the DfT consultation.”

The consultation closes on 23 March.