Reprieve for international operators as Brexit postponed again

BREXIT NEWS

BY ADMIN IN NEWS · APRIL 16, 2019

Commentators had all but given up predicting where the Brexit process would take Britain next as TransportOperator’s print edition closed for press in early April.

By the time the newspaper had been distributed, EU leaders had postponed the UK’s exit from the bloc until Halloween, with the option of an earlier exit should a withdrawal deal be approved by Parliament before then.

After the original 29 March deadline was superseded by 12 April and Prime Minister May’s deal was defeated a third time, scenes unprecedented in the UK’s democratic history saw backbenchers wrest the steering wheel of the parliamentary timetable from the government last month, and jumpstart their own legislative process.

But Mrs May’s decision to seek a further Article 50 extension, and ongoing negotiations with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, suggest that a ‘softer’ Brexit is now likely – which will have come as a relief to some in the road transport sector concerned about the operational impact of a ‘cliff-edge’ departure.

Meanwhile, the road ahead for international hauliers is looking slightly less precarious, at least until the end of this year. Even prior to the extension of the deadline, the government had confirmed that, even if the UK were to exit the EU with no deal, UK hauliers would be able to continue to use their existing EU Community Licences until 31 December 2019 to operate within the EU without requiring additional permits, thanks to reciprocal contingency arrangements.

These arrangements, which will now apply after the new 31 October deadline in a no-deal scenario, would allow continued journeys to and from the UK (for example, a journey from the UK to Germany, or a journey from Italy to the UK), and journeys through EU countries to reach another EU country (for example, driving through France to reach Spain).

The rules on cabotage and cross-trade, however, would change from the day of Brexit; and new limits to these activities would apply. According to current agreements, operators would be allowed to carry out two cabotage or cross-trade journeys within seven days of making an international journey until 31 December 2019.

Trucks must return to the UK (either laden or unladen) after completing cabotage or cross-trade, and after 31 December, no cabotage or cross-trade journeys would be allowed. However, it is possible that the no-deal contingency arrangements will themselves be extended as the next deadline approaches.

Under the contingency arrangements: “you will not be allowed to drive through the EU and EEA to a third country, for example, driving through France to get to Switzerland, without an ECMT permit,” added the Department for Transport.

“If you get a new international operator licence or renew your licence from April 2019, you will get a ‘UK Licence for the Community’ instead of an EU Community Licence.

“This will work in the same way as the EU Community Licence. It will let you do the same journeys a Community Licence allows. The same rules will apply to using it. You do not need to exchange EU Community Licences for UK Licences for the Community.”

The DfT further clarified: “If there is no deal, you can use your Community Licence for journeys to and from Ireland, journeys through Ireland to other EU or EEA countries, or journeys through Ireland between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In addition: “The UK has signed transport agreements with Switzerland and Norway. The agreements ensure that UK hauliers can continue to drive in Switzerland and Norway using a Community Licence after the UK leaves the EU.

“If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, you will need an ECMT permit for journeys through EU or EEA countries to Switzerland.”

The reciprocity of the contingency arrangements means that EU hauliers would also continue to be able to move goods in the UK.

“This includes journeys to and from the UK, through the UK and cabotage within the UK,” said the DfT.

“EU hauliers’ Community Licences and CPC documents will be recognised. EU hauliers will not require ECMT permits to operate in the UK.”

However, DfT warned that the EU may not recognise UK-issued Driver CPC qualifications after Brexit.

“If you have a UK Driver CPC, and are currently working or planning to work for an EU company, you may want to exchange your UK Driver CPC for an EU Driver CPC before the UK leaves the EU.

“Apply to the relevant body in an EU or EEA country to exchange a UK Driver CPC.”

RHA policy director England and Wales, Duncan Buchanan, said the confirmation of the reciprocal agreement in the case of a no-deal Brexit was “very helpful”.

“The majority of UK-EU international road haulage can move without the complexity of needing ECMT permits which means many operators will no longer need the permits they’ve been allocated,” he said.

“The other win is that there should be enough ECMT permits to meet demand for third-country transit. We now call on DfT to review its allocation plans for short-term permits, so they are easily accessible for all operators who need them.”

Meanwhile, the government’s trailer registration scheme is now open. It requires commercial trailers weighing over 750kg, and non-commercial trailers weighing over 3,500kg, to be registered before they are towed to our through most EU and EEA countries.

DfT said: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, some EU and EEA countries may also require a separate Green Card as proof of insurance for trailers.

“If you take an abnormal load trailer outside the UK you must apply for a keeper’s certificate for an abnormal load trailer. You need to keep the keeper’s certificate in your vehicle when you go abroad.”

Truck chaos at Calais and French Eurotunnel

Truck chaos at Calais and French Eurotunnel terminal

Stuart Todd | Thursday, 07 March 2019

Delays of up to six hours to cross-Channel road freight vehicles continuing as customs officers ‘simulate’ the working conditions they expect in the event of a ‘hard Brexit’ later this month

Road freight firms operating from mainland Europe to the UK via the port of Calais and Eurotunnel are likely to face further disruption today due to sporadic, work-to-rule industrial action by French customs officers that started earlier this week and which has led to severe traffic congestion.

This has seen trucks routinely stopped for checks as protesters seek to ‘simulate’ what they claim will be the working conditions they will be subjected to in the event of a hard Brexit taking place at the end of this month.

Yesterday, video footage on French TV showed long queues of HGVs backed up along the A16 motorway leading to the port of Calais and the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. According to one local media report, the regional prefect is advising truck drivers heading to the UK to postpone their journey or go via Belgium.

Contacted by Lloyd’s Loading List earlier today, the Calais port authority said that customs officials supporting the action had “eased up” on the truck checks. “Traffic is very heavy but it is getting through,” the spokesperson for the port added.

Meanwhile, in its latest service update, Eurotunnel is warning customers of waiting times of up to six hours before checking in for the freight shuttle service.

Commenting on the disruption of the past few days, Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe, said: “The impact has varied through the day, but it means that queues have formed in front of customs controls. We continue to run a full service of up to six departures per hour, but the load factors during the day are affected depending on the rate of flow through the French customs controls.”

He added: “We don’t think this (situation) is representative of post-Brexit flows as there are new facilities being built to provide greater capacity.”

Earlier today in a tweet to customers, P&O Ferries Freight said that sailings on its Calais-Dover route were on time but did highlight that there were  “major queues at check points”.  

Jason Breakwell, commercial director at European road freight specialist Wallenborn Transports, told Lloyd’s Loading List yesterday evening: “We have not changed our operations until now and we have contingency plans to reroute if necessary. The industrial action is adding up to six hours to journey times to the UK, but using other routes will not be quicker because other ferries are less frequent and have longer sailing times. 

“If the situation worsens, we will reassess and initiate contingency plans. We are frequent users of the alternative ferry routes, for example when driving from or to central and northern UK, carrying certain types of dangerous goods, or transporting out-sized cargo.”

Breakwell said he believed the head of French customs “was right when he said this has nothing to do with Brexit, as there will be no additional customs checks on UK bound trucks after Brexit”. 

US-China Trade Dispute update 04.04.2018

worth around $50 billion a year

further today after China responded to US plans for new tariffs on hundreds of Chinese import product categories worth around $50 billion a year.

Just hours after the Trump administration revealed plans for a 25% tariff on Chinese imports of products within industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery, Beijing threatened to retaliate by imposing tariffs on roughly $50 billion of imports from the US, including on soybeans, cars, and some aircraft, according to reports from international sources including the BBC, FT and Washington Post.

The US claimed it was responding to China’s “unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of US technology and intellectual property” by publishing “a proposed list of products imported from China that could be subject to additional tariffs”.

Following the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR)’s so-called Section 301 investigation, President Trump announced in March that the United States “will impose tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises.”

The US said China’s policies “bolster China’s stated intention of seizing economic leadership in advanced technology as set forth in its industrial plans”, such as its ‘Made in China 2025’ plans.

The US continued: “The proposed list of products is based on extensive interagency economic analysis and would target products that benefit from China’s industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the US economy.  Sectors subject to the proposed tariffs include industries such as aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery.”

The proposed list covers approximately 1,300 separate tariff lines and will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a hearing. After completion of this process, USTR will issue a final determination on the products subject to the additional duties.

“The total value of imports subject to the tariff increase is commensurate with an economic analysis of the harm caused by China’s unreasonable technology transfer policies to the US economy, as covered by USTR’s Section 301 investigation,” the US said. Its announcement comes just days after the USTR filed a request for consultations with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address China’s “discriminatory technology licensing requirements”.

Such consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process, the US said.  “If the United States and China are unable to reach a solution through consultations, the United States may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.”

Responding to the new US tariff announcements but prior to the retaliatory threats from China, US body the National Retail Federation issued the following statement from President and CEO Matthew Shay: “As we’ve said all along, tariffs are taxes on consumers and a drag on the nation’s economy. While we are pleased that many everyday products such as clothing and shoes are not on the list, we remain concerned that other goods such as consumer electronics and home appliances are targets. And we believe that tariffs on certain machinery will make American-made products more expensive.

“This entire process creates uncertainty and makes it difficult for retail companies that must rely on complicated global supply chains. Tariffs threaten to hurt consumers, jeopardize job creation and increase the cost of doing business here in the United States.

“Once again, we urge the administration to work with our trading partners to hold China accountable, advance targeted solutions and recognize the unintended consequences of protectionist trade policies.”

European Road Transport

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HURRICANE IRMA SHIPPING DESRUPTION

US supply chains are braced for a second shock to the system as Hurricane Irma heads for Florida, even as the US Gulf still reels from Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Texas and beyond.

Irma is being described as a potentially catastrophic Category 5 ‘superstorm’ capable of delivering lift-threatening winds of more than 180 mph (290kmh), storm surges and huge amounts of rainfall. The hurricane, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, is expected to reach Florida on Saturday after first passing over or near Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba in the coming days.

Hundreds of flights to and from Caribbean islands have already been cancelled and most commercial ports in Irma’s path are currently closed.

Although it is not yet clear where in the US Irma will make landfall, Florida has already started evacuating citizens across the state. Air, road and rail disruptions are expected to be lengthy as the state braces itself for Irma’s impact.

Terminal gates at the Port of Miami, which handled 1.03 million TEU in FY 2016, were closed for export cargoes yesterday at 3pm EST.

A customer advisory from SeaLand, Maersk Line’s intra-America’s carrier, said Port Everglades was open yesterday and would remain open today although this could change depending on how Irma developed.

Miami International Airport, a major cargo hub and a key part of American Airline’s network, said it was closely monitoring the storm and warned it would close when sustained winds reach 55 miles per hour, although many airlines were expected to cancel flights well before that point.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said some of its flights to the Caribbean scheduled today had been cancelled.

As reported in Lloyd’s Loading List, Texas is only just starting to get back on its feet following Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, which battered the coast for much of last week before heading inland. But even as vessel loading and unloading resumes at the country’s sixth biggest box port, backlogs of cargo are expected to take weeks to clear as the state’s roads and railways take time to return to full capacity after the devastation suffered.

Argentina

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For further information contact sale@hollandandstockfordltd.com

Truck Services to Europe & Middle East

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Our equipment availability includes road-trains, standard 90 cube trailers, Mega Trailer, box trailer, road-tankers,temperature controlled,Garment trailers, Our equipment is usually available at short notice, We have a network or Truck companies from Large organisations to our owner drivers all of whom are vetted before they are able to work with Holland & Stockford Ltd.

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China Trade Trends

China’s export growth slowed in July as demand from the US and EU faltered.

Analysts had predicted further gains in the lead up to the ocean shipping peak season but instead export growth in US dollar terms fell to 7.2% year-on-year last month after rising 11.3% in June.

Japanese investment bank Nomura said the result had disappointed expectations – Nomura had a predicted a 10.5% year-on-year surge in July exports and the consensus among analysts was for an 11% year-on-year increase.

The analyst said growth was “mainly weighed on by exports to the US and EU which fell sharply by 10.9 percentage points and 5.0 percentage points, respectively, to 8.9% y-o-y and 10.1% in July”.

Export growth to Japan and some Asian economies improved slightly but Nomura predicted that trade tensions between the US and China “may escalate due to geopolitical issues, putting pressure on China’s export growth in the short term”.

By product type, export growth in mechanical & electrical product, hi-tech product and automatic data process machines dropped significantly in July. “Notably, these products are mostly intellectual property-related and may be vulnerable if the Trump administration decides to impose tighter trade sanctions on China – although we do not expect any imminent action,” added Nomura.

The analyst concluded that trade growth may have peaked in Q2 and could now slow in the second of the year as “potential trade frictions between China and the US, rising geopolitical risks and appreciation of RMB against USD in H1 are likely to weigh on the near-term export outlook”.

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We are able to offer very good freight rates Import & Export for Sea FCL or LCL weekly departures, Air Freight Daily departures Import or Export by Commercial Flights,

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Hanjin Shipping Line News

CREDITORS of Hanjin Shipping, which went bankrupt last year, stand little chance of recovering any of their money, with debts massively outweighing assets.

Court papers filed with the US Bankruptcy Court District of New Jersey show that claims filed by creditors total about $10.5bn.

However, the debtor’s estate has recovered only around $220m since Hanjin collapsed at the end of last August.

Jim Han Kim, lawyer appointed bankruptcy trustee of Hanjin Shipping, set out the figures in a declaration to the US court and said it was uncertain when initial distributions would be made to those creditors holding admitted claims.

Hanjin Shipping was a top 10 container line at the time that it went under after months of negotiations with key creditors, such as shipowners with vessels on charter to the carrier.

Its demise appeared to give fresh impetus to consolidation efforts, with the three Japanese shipping groups agreeing to merge their container businesses a few weeks later, and then Maersk announcing plans to buy Hamburg Süd while Cosco Shipping is in the process of taking over OOCL.