New EU rules for UK van operators transporting goods into Europe

It is now a requirement for any operator with vehicles 2.5 tonne and above,  headquartered in the UK who ship products from the UK into the EU, as well as those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, will have to abide by new EU regulations.

Additionally, organisations will need to name a transport manager, who must be certified or have at least ten years of relevant experience operating a fleet of commercial vehicles.

A detailed explanation of the new regulations, which are now into effect, was posted on the official website of the UK Government on Tuesday.

As stated in the update, all UK-based businesses, including those situated in Northern Ireland, are required to possess a standard international goods vehicle operator licence in order to move products inside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. During international trips, drivers must have a certified copy of their UK licence for the community with them.

Companies that utilise the following will be subject to the new regulations:

  • vans with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) over 2,500kg (2.5 tonnes) and up to and including 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes)
  • vans towing a trailer with a gross train weight (GTW) over 2.5 tonnes and up to and including 3.5 tonnes
  • cars towing a trailer with a GTW over 2.5 tonnes and up to and including 3.5 tonnes

All of the cars owned by those who currently hold a goods vehicle operator licence must be added to it. However, it won’t be necessary for the vehicles to be assigned to a particular operating centre.

The international goods vehicle operator licence cannot currently have additional vehicles added to it. In order to be informed as quickly as possible, the government has urged couriers to sign up for email alerts.

If the vehicle limit has not been exceeded, there is no price to add the vehicles to the licence. However, individuals who require a “major variation” will have to spend £257 in order to increase the number of vehicles allowed on their licence. The government further notes that couriers must demonstrate they have access to a certain amount of funding to operate their firm (referred to as “financial standing”). Depending on how many vehicles the company has, couriers must have £1,600 on hand for the first vehicle and an additional £800 for each additional vehicle.

Finally, there is also a requirement for a transport manager to be assigned as the person legally responsible for all the vehicles on the operator licence.

The transport manager could be a current employee (or the self-employed business owner themselves). However, even though they are not required to hold a transport manager certification, they must have overseen vehicle fleets for at least ten years prior to 20 August 2020.

As an alternative, the couriers can hire an external qualified transport manager or recruit someone with a transport manager qualification (known as a transport manager Certificate of Professional Competence, or “CPC”).

The RHA’s Rod McKenzie responded to the news by telling the Guardian: “This is just more bureaucracy. It’s been flagged for some time but could be a problem for the one-man bands or small operators who are simply too busy running their business day to day to have noticed this.”

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