The industry has broadly welcomed the European Commission’s (EC) decision to drop plans to lift cabotage restrictions, but said it wants the current rules to be more rigorously enforced.


Brian Yeardley Continental MD Kevin Hopper said more needs to be done in the UK to ensure foreign operators’ work is being properly monitored, as other EU countries “make it impossible” for the firm to consider taking on cabotage loads without delays or red tape.

He said: “We don’t do it, due to the hassle if you get stopped by the authorities, plus the poor rates. With the influx of foreign hauliers now operating in the UK, [our] presence is being exploited by backload-clearing houses and [European] hauliers trying to reduce their costs.This will have a massive effect on the profit of UK domestic hauliers.”

Sarah Rogers, director at EM Rogers Transport, also welcomed the decision: “The rules do help domestic hauliers here. European operators have an unfair advantage as diesel is cheaper and [they] can operate on lower rates.”

Last month, the EC said it plans to improve the way rules are enforced and work on making cross-border haulage more beneficial to those in the industry and the overall EU economy.

The FTA said it plans to publish cost comparisons between British and European operators later this year, which it said will be a key body of evidence in making sure the EC does not reconsider dropping cabotage rules.

Karen Dee, director of policy at the FTA, said: "We are heartened by the fact that the European Commission is not moving to quickly, but we will continue to lobby them until plans to remove cabotage restrictions are completely dropped."