What will the consequences of a possible "Hard Brexit" be on the transport sector?
What will the consequences of a possible "Hard Brexit" be on the transport sector?
3 November 2020 - by: Camilla Bernardoni

What will the consequences of a possible "Hard Brexit" be on the transport sector?

There are two months left until the end of the transitional period, which will conclude with the end of the year 2020. However, no agreement has yet been reached between the UK and the EU: the lack of an agreement at an EU level, the so-called "hard Brexit", will have significant consequences on transport, for which it is good to be prepared.

Consequences of a hard brexit
Following the outcome of the referendum on Brexit on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom officially notified the European Council on 29 March 2017 of its intention to leave the EU. Therefore, Brexit negotiations were launched, but withdrawal from the EU was delayed. After 3 years, on 31 January 2020, when the withdrawal agreement comes into force, the United Kingdom will leave the EU definitively and will no longer be considered a Member State, but a Third Country. However, the withdrawal agreement provides for a so-called "transitional" period until 31 December 2020 which continues to subject the United Kingdom to EU rules, until a given date.

This transitional phase in which we find ourselves today, waiting for the final verdict is very important. It gives the United Kingdom time to adapt to the new provisions and in general to the new situation, but above all to negotiate an economic and security agreement with the European Union. 

However, two months before the deadline, the so-called "hard Brexit" is feared, that is, the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU without any EU agreement, as there are still many disagreements. The lack of an agreement regulating economic-commercial relations between the UK and the EU would also have repercussions on the transport sector: in fact, the free movement of goods and people, which is one of the key principles of the EU, would cease to exist. With the introduction of customs and duties, transport would be subject to specific authorizations, more controls, and therefore likely complications.

From a customs point of view, there is still a lack of clarity on what the actual changes will be. The specialized FERCAM customs consulting service will continue its commitment to provide support and information material to its customers and partners. In the dedicated section of our website, you can also freely download a checklist with our advice on which measures to activate in order not to be caught unprepared.

The consequences of "hard Brexit" on maritime transport:

  • The right to the unrestricted provision of maritime transport services between Member States will no longer apply.
  • The possibility for the mutual recognition of maritime workers' qualifications and navigational equipment and apparatus will no longer be available.
  • The United Kingdom will no longer be part of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
  • Customs and control procedures will be introduced in European and British ports when goods leave the European customs area to enter a third country and vice versa, with the consequent burden in terms of time and cost on cargo.

On rail transport:

  • Great Britain will no longer be part of the Single European Rail Area (SERA).
  • European railway operators will need authorization to operate in the United Kingdom, and vice versa, and the necessary certification of rolling stock, staff, and equipment with regard to both the European Single Market and the British market.
  • The United Kingdom will no longer be part of the specialist European Agency, the European Railway Agency (ERA).
  • It will be necessary to establish an ad hoc agreement with France for the management of the Channel Tunnel. 

On road transport:

  • Due to the lack of mutual recognition for companies established in the two markets to operate and due to the end of international road transport operations regulated by Single Market regulations, there will not be any common ground for international transport between the EU and the United Kingdom. 
  • Termination of the mutual recognition of drivers' qualifications and vehicle documentation provided by the United Kingdom in the European Union. 

On air transport:

  • The end of the openness of the European market to carriers based in Great Britain (including air cabotage), with restrictions applied to third countries valid for the ownership of European carriers. 
  • The lack of mutual recognition of professional qualifications obtained in Great Britain and the EU-27. 
Do you trade with the UK? FERCAM can support you with dedicated consulting and technical and practical support for customs handling.
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