SmartWitness - Fearghal Macgowan portrait v1

SmartWitness UK said it had found non-UK hauliers “really frustrated” by the Direct Vision Standard scheme and many were still looking to boycott London rather than shell out thousands of pounds to make their fleets compliant.

However, it added that their stance could prove beneficial to UK hauliers who are ready for the safety scheme, which comes into force on 1 March.

“The result has been that many south-east based haulage firms who have done their compliance with us are picking up lots of new contracts to take EU goods on into Greater London from depots outside London, or from northern Europe,” said Fearghal MacGowan (pictured), SmartWitness UK MD.

“Increasingly, UK fleets have taken up the opportunity to get the 90-day extension to the TfL deadline and SmartWitness has been inundated with new orders for our DVS Safe Systems which we will fulfil in the next three months.

“For fleets that have sorted their compliance they will be able to charge a premium for their services inside the capital as a lot of European based hauliers are effectively looking to boycott coming inside the M25.”

But some hauliers are increasingly concerned that their supply chain will collapse in the face of the onerous safety scheme.

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Tony O’Malley, MD at Kent-based Rendrive Haulage, which runs construction consolidation centres within the M25, said: “European Euro-6 fleets from 27 countries numbering tens of thousands are now not permitted to enter London and until recently were not aware in many cases of the London requirement for DVS.

“In any case, as one major operator told me, he was not prepared to pay near a hundred thousand pounds for a local standard just to deliver to one city in the UK when he delivers to hundreds of cities and towns elsewhere.

“DVS implementation has the potential to be a disaster for supply chains.”

Conversely, Brigade Electronics told Commercial Motor it had seen “huge demand” for DVS safe permit kits from its European subsidiaries.

Emily Hardy, Brigade marketing manager, added: “Germany has similar requirements to DVS, where government grants were given to operators to encourage uptake and new European requirements will see systems become mandatory from 2024.

“So DVS is really bringing the UK in line with Europe, not the other way around.”

Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK head of policy for the south, said: “With the threat of penalty on non-compliance – and with the high costs of retrofitting vehicles to meet DVS standards – Logistics UK is not surprised that businesses, both based abroad and across the UK, may choose to subcontract delivery work to local companies that have the required knowledge and compliant vehicles.”