UK hauliers will not require ECMT permits while undertaking international work between the UK and EU until at least 30 June 2021 in the event of a no-deal, according to the European Commission (EC).

It said there was now significant uncertainty about whether a deal between the UK and EU members would be in place by January and so it was putting in place a set of contingency measures to ensure “basic reciprocal air and road connectivity between the EU and the UK”.

The EC said: “Considering the volumes of road freight transport services and the goods carried by road between the United Kingdom and the Union, it is evident that reliance solely on the ECMT quota system does not currently constitute an adequate solution to ensure basic road freight transport connectivity immediately after the end of the transition period.

“The carriage of goods by road between the United Kingdom and the Member States is almost entirely in the hands of United Kingdom and Union road haulage operators.

“The loss by those operators of their right to provide road freight transport between the United Kingdom and the Union would therefore result in serious disruptions including in respect of public order.”

Concerns had been growing that there would not be enough ECMT permits for operators wanting to enter the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Logistics UK said if the measures are adopted in time then they would provide a welcome safety net for haulage companies: “However, six months is not a very long time in business, and for Logistics UK members, it is vital that negotiators return to the table to work out a free trade agreement between the UK and EU to ensure the security of their businesses and livelihoods in the years to come,” added Sarah Laouadi, European policy manager.

The RHA said it did not believe cabotage would be permitted for UK hauliers in the EU and that it was likely ECMT permits would be needed for transit across the EU to non-EU states, or to move goods between EU states.