The Road Haulage Association and Logistics UK have joined forces with 31 other road haulage associations across Europe to urge negotiators on all sides to agree a deal on Brexit.

In an open letter to the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, UK chief negotiator David Frost and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the trade associations call for a reciprocal solution between the EU and the UK and warn that the alternative will be “patchwork of fragmented national arrangements – which would be to everyone’s loss”.

Pointing out that more than 2.3 million trucks travel back and forth between the EU and the UK every year, the letter adds: “These vehicles are the life blood of our interconnected economies, supporting all sectors and industries by bringing raw materials, spare parts, supermarket supplies and finished products to their users and end consumers.

“As such, road transport is a trade enabler whose contribution goes far beyond its considerable direct economic and employment footprint.”

The open letter continues: “Ending the transition period without an agreement between the EU and the UK is not an option for our industry. We believe reaching a robust compromise on a road haulage chapter as part of such agreement is both achievable and indispensable.

“It is in the interest of all parties to allow heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to move back and forth between the EU and the UK and transit through their respective territories in a way that is economically viable, without resorting to the reintroduction of haulage permits and quota systems that were never intended to cover volumes of trade as high as those currently taking place between the EU and the UK.”

The letter adds: “We strongly believe the way forward lies in a reciprocal solution between the EU and the UK based on mutual recognition of standards, competences and certificates to provide for adequate safeguards in terms of fair competition, environmental performance, road safety and working conditions for drivers.

“Road freight transport operators on both sides of the Channel are committed to operating to high standards in these areas.

“Failing this, one would face a disheartening choice between a patchwork of fragmented national arrangements, and a world where the shortage of transport capacity on EU-UK routes is endorsed as official policy [quota of permits]. Either option would be to everyone’s loss.”

The letter concludes: “Time is of the essence. We call on negotiators to focus on their shared objectives – preserving road connectivity through balanced, reciprocal arrangements - and use the remaining negotiating time to deliver an outcome that is economically sensible and allows the road transport industry to play its role as an essential trade enabler across all sectors of the economy.”

Thirty three logistics associations from 27 countries signed the letter including the French Association of Road Haulage & Passenger Transport, the Federal Association of Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal in Germany, the International Road Transport Association of Spain and the Danish Transport and Logistics Association.