UK hauliers undertaking international work in the EU should prepare for the ending of cabotage from next year, according to the RHA.

It is expected that the European Commission will disallow cabotage operations from UK companies in the EU from 1 January 2021 when the transition period ends.

The RHA said this could change as a result of ongoing negotiations, but for now operators should assume cabotage will no longer be permitted from next year.

Article 8 of Regulation 1072/2009 provides that every haulier is entitled to perform up to three cabotage operations within a seven-day period starting the day after the unloading of the international transport.

According to the trade association, the UK government’s policy has been that there should be “symmetry” and therefore EU operators would not be allowed to undertake cabotage in the UK from 2021.

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Dave Ashford, transport director at KBC Logistics in Purfleet said the move would be “a breath of fresh air”.

He said: “I’m quite pleased.

“For years in this area, we have been competing with foreign hauliers doing cabotage and, in some cases, illegal cabotage.

“What we have noticed is more enquiries coming from Europe looking at unaccompanied trailers.

“A lot of European operators are thinking we don’t want the aggro of moving in the UK after Brexit, so they’ll drop trailers in Antwerp or wherever and a UK haulier can move them on the other side, possibly in light of cabotage becoming illegal.”

However, Ashford added: “If no-one is around to enforce it then it will continue as it always has done.”