In an effort to address supply chain problems, the UK Government is easing the rules on the number of deliveries that foreign truck drivers are allowed to make in the UK. According to the new plans, drivers can deliver or collect unlimited goods within the UK within a period of 14 days. So far, EU drivers can only pick up or deliver goods twice a week.
The shortage of truck drivers in the UK – due to a combination of COVID, Brexit and other factors – has affected, among other things, petrol stations and supermarkets. In the Port of Felixstowe are numerous abandoned containers stacked.
Last month, the government announced that it would grant up to 5,000 temporary visas to truck drivers from abroad, but so far only a fraction has been issued. And the first foreign drivers to make use of this new visa regime are not expected for another month. So now the ministers are going a step further and are planning to make temporary changes to the cabotage rules, which determine how many contracts a carrier is allowed to carry out abroad.
This means that foreign truck drivers who enter the UK with goods can then pick up and deliver other loads within the UK for an unlimited number of times for two weeks before crossing the border again. The amendments still need to be adopted after a week of debate, but if they are adopted, they will enter into force “by the end of this year for up to six months”, the government said, which hopes that the measure will allow thousands of additional deliveries every month.