Round up: Latest commercial vehicle and post-Brexit news for hauliers

The demand for new commercial vehicles across has grown for the 17th consecutive month according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) – but demand growth in Britain was markedly lower than in the rest of the European Union.

Finger art of couple. Couple holding broken heart.In addition, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has left a cloud of uncertainty over the UK haulage industry and led to calls for clarity from some industry insiders.

In this blog post, we’ve collated some of the latest post-Brexit news for hauliers and commercial fleet operators.

Commercial vehicle registrations

ACEA data shows that in May 2016, demand for new commercial vehicles in the EU increased for the 17th month in a row. Across all the classifications, commercial vehicle registrations grew by 16.4% across the EU.

But change in demand in the UK was significantly lower than in the rest of Europe. The difference was particularly pronounced in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) category, where with a percentage change of just 1.9% on May 2015, the UK ranked second to bottom behind Latvia. Poor compared to Italy (35.0%), France (27.8%) and Germany (15.3%).

Haulage industry reacts to Brexit

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is less than a week old, and whatever position hauliers took before the vote, now they are all trying to understand what the decision will mean for them.

On Monday, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) contacted its members to inform them it would be in touch with the government to try and clarify the situation as it stands for hauliers.

In a letter to members, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Whichever way you cast your vote last week, the public has spoken and the UK has decided to leave the EU.

“We are now entering a period of uncertainty. The Pound still hasn’t made any significant sign of recovery since the Brexit earthquake, the stock market is still reeling and all industry sectors are waiting for the ramifications to be established.

“However, I want to make it clear that your Association will be keeping close to government to ensure the best deal for UK road hauliers. Rest assured, we are already in the process of arranging meetings with relevant departmental ministers so that we can stress the industry’s needs and expectations.”

With party political infighting the order of the day at Whitehall, however, it is uncertain when politicians will be able to provide this kind of clarity.

The future of trade and haulage

Trade, and particularly international trade, is the lifeblood of the haulage industry. And with the future of exports to our largest international trading partner cast into uncertainty, lots of hauliers are unsure about their futures.

With just two years to negotiate a trade deal with the EU once Article 50 has been enacted, and the possibility of tariffs to be imposed, the future of Britain’s international trade is far from assured.

Recognising this, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the government to provide some assurances. The FTA took a neutral stance during the referendum campaign, but now they say there is an element of uncertainty over how goods will be moved through Europe and they are keen to ensure the ‘simple trade agreements’ already in place continue.

Hauliers likely to keep tachnograph and CPC rules post-Brexit

Some clarity on what post-Brexit haulage will look like has been offered by law firms in the wake of Britain’s referendum decision to leave the EU. According to Commercial Motor magazine, operators will still likely enforce rules around driver hours, CPC and O-licensing even after Britain has left the union.

Lawyers from top transport law firms claim that hauliers will still have to follow most European regulations post-Brexit even if they don’t plan on operating internationally – because the UK government will probably codify them in UK law first.

The magazine quoted Laura Newton, a solicitor at Rothera Sharp, saying: “EU rules would still apply to UK drivers in the EU, so CPC qualifications and use of tachographs will be necessary for international journeys in any event. I can’t envisage that international operators and drivers would welcome working to a dual set of rules.”