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New European driving rules come into effect

2nd Sep 2020 6 min read

New rules on driving in Europe were introduced by the European Union (EU) on 20 August.


These relate to requirements on maximum daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks, as well as daily and weekly rest periods for vehicles using tachographs.

The changes mean drivers can drive up to nine hours in a day, which can be extended to 10 hours twice a week, with a maximum of 56 hours in a week and 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks. Further changes have been made relating to driver breaks and rest periods, including:

  • at least 11 hours’ rest every day, which can be reduced to nine hours’ rest three times between any two weekly rest periods 
  • an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week, which can be reduced to 24 hours every other week
  • a 45-minute break after driving for more than 4.5 hours
  • drivers must return home at least once every four weeks
  • drivers will no longer be able to take weekly rest periods in their vehicles 
  • more flexibility on the scheduling of the rest periods for some international drivers
  • new provisions for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by ferry or rail
  • a new requirement to keep a full record of all other work completed
  • coach drivers on international trips can take their weekly rest after 12 consecutive 24-hour periods.

More information can be found here


Northern Ireland post-Brexit

The Government has now provided guidance on moving goods into and out of Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

The Protocol itself is not a permanent solution but aims to initially uphold the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement while allowing the UK, including Northern Ireland, to leave the EU. The key points of the protocol are:

  • moving goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK will not change: no additional processes or paperwork will be required
  • for those moving goods from Ireland to Northern Ireland, there are some changes. A new trader support service is available to provide guidance on process changes
  • trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as the rest of the EU, will continue with no changes.

More information can be found here

Meanwhile, the Government has updated the documents published last month relating to exporting and importing goods to and from the rest of the EU. Details can be found here.


Global shipping news

Demand on Trans-Pacific sailings has grown significantly and this is beginning to impact Asia-to-Europe trade lanes. With over 90% of capacity being utilised there are some concerns that there aren’t enough operational vessels to meet demand on both key routes: with rates rising on Trans-Pacific crossings, shipping lines are likely to divert vessels onto alternative routes. 

However, rates between Asia and North Europe continue to remain fairly static. The Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) shows rates on the Shanghai-North Europe currently stand at $916 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), a slight rise over last week. 

Air freight volumes continued to increase in July as more scheduled services came back on line and belly hold capacity increased. Air freight rates have continued to fall, down 9% in July over June, although the rates are still well ahead of the same period last year, at 62% higher than in July 2019.


How Santander can help

All of the issues covered in this week’s update have the potential to impact our clients’ international supply chains. Please get in contact if you’re facing any supply chain difficulties because we work with a number of logistics companies with specialisations in particular markets or sectors who would be happy to provide impartial advice on a range of potential solutions that might help you overcome such challenges.

To discuss how Santander can help your business please contact: