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New rules to keep goods moving post-Brexit

12th Oct 2020 6 min read

The Government has announced further plans in recent days to reduce congestion at the UK’s key transit points in Kent when the post-Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December.


MP, Michael Gove, has unveiled the Kent Access Permit, which hauliers will need to complete before their vehicles enter the country.

The permit will be needed for all vehicles over 7.5 tonnes. Drivers will need to have this permit, as well as the relevant customs clearance documentation, before accessing Kent roads. There will be a fine of up to £300 for those who fall foul of the rules, which will be enforced by the police and ANPR cameras on Kent roads.

Permits will be issued to drivers who’ve been given a green or amber result on the Government’s online Smart Freight System – it makes sure vehicles are carrying the correct documentation before they travel to ports. Each permit will be valid for 24 hours and cover a single trip. Ministers hope the arrangement will make sure operators have the right paperwork before arriving in port terminals, therefore reducing the potential for congestion.

Both the Smart Freight System and the Goods Vehicle Movement System (the UK Government border control information technology system for coordinating the movement of vehicles) are intended to simplify the customs process and make sure goods move as freely as possible across the UK border. However, there are concerns in the sector that the systems won’t be ready until later in the year, giving logistics providers little time to prepare ahead of the 31 December deadline.


Transport for London changes standards

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that tougher safety and emission standards for hauliers will come into effect on 1 March 2021.

From that date, commercial vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes will need to apply for the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and for a safety permit to enter or operate in Greater London. Operators without the right permits could face penalty charges. The new Direct Vision & Safety Standards are aimed at improving drivers’ vision from cab windows, and form part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads by 2041.

Separately, TfL’s new Low Emission standards for commercial vehicles, including lorries, buses, coaches and specialist vehicles, will require vehicles exceeding set emission limits to pay a charge to drive in the Greater London area. These charges will bring heavy goods vehicles in line with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) standards already in place for smaller vehicles.

The charge will be £300 per day per ‘Euro IV’ vehicle in the case of lorries, heavy vans and specialist vehicles that exceed 3.5 tonnes, or buses, minibuses and coaches above 5 tonnes. ‘Euro VI’ vehicles will pay £100 per day. For more information see here

The Mayor of London has announced a range of schemes to help businesses and individuals replace older and more-polluting vehicles with alternatives that meet the new emissions standards. These initiatives include a scrappage grant scheme worth up to £15,000 for small businesses, charities and low-income and disabled London residents.

The scheme is available to businesses and individuals that are within the 32 London boroughs or the City of London, but will only be available for vehicles and motorbikes that meet the ULEZ standards. The support available includes grants of up to £2,000 for motorcycles and cars, £9,500 for vans and minibuses and £15,000 for heavy vehicles. See here for more details.


Freight rates stabilise

Global shipping freight rates have finally begun to fall back from the record highs seen over the last few weeks. Moving towards the Chinese Golden Week holiday, the rates on both trans-Pacific and Asia-to-Europe routes have come down over the past week. Carriers are still managing capacity carefully and with demand remaining high rates continue to fluctuate daily.

In part, the falls reflect advocacy from China’s Ministry of Transport, with most carriers on Asia-to-North Europe routes scaling back the surcharges they had planned for October. This is good news, though rates are likely to remain high.

Air freight rates continue to remain stable, though they’re still high compared to 2019. There are also concerns that China’s holiday season could see rates from Asia increase, as capacity is swept up by increased demand for consumer goods.

Capacity continues to grow as airlines add more services to their schedules. Global capacity increased by a further 2.8% last week, as Chinese domestic carriers added flights, and more long-haul routes to their schedules. However, capacity still remains down on this time last year.


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 specialisms in particular markets or sectors who would be happy to provide advice on a range of potential solutions that might help you overcome such challenges.

To discuss how Santander can help your business please contact: