Transporting Goods Abroad After Brexit – ACT NOW

  1. Community Licences and ECMT Permits

Currently, UK lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence along with a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and EEA.

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.

From 29 March 2019, if there is no EU exit deal, EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK issued community licences.

In those circumstances, the government is confident that it would be able to negotiate new or reinstate old bilateral agreements with EU countries to provide haulage access.

However, transport managers may wish to apply for ECMT international haulage permits for 2019. ECMT permits will enable UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.

The deadline to apply for an ECMT permit is 11:59pm on Sunday 21 December 2018.

There are a limited number of permits available and it is expected that the number of applications will far exceed the 984 annual permits that will be available. Permits will be allocated against a set of criteria after the application period has ended and successful applications will be notified in early 2019 by email.

The criteria are:

  • Emissions level of your vehicle
  • Number of international journeys made in the last 12 months
  • Proportion of your haulage that is international
  • The goods you carry

To apply for your permits go to where you will find more information about ECMT permits and the rules around their use.

  1. Trailer Registration

From 28 March 2019, you must register commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg before they can travel through countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

This includes these countries in the EU, EEA and Europe:   

This means that trailers making international journeys through these countries will need to:

  • be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • display their own registration plate (separate from the vehicle towing them)
  • be able to present the Trailer Registration Certificate to a foreign authority on request

You do not need to register trailers that are only used in the UK or only used for journeys between the UK and Ireland.

You also do not need to register trailers used in Spain, Cyprus or Malta. You will, however, need to register trailers if you drive them through any country listed above to reach these destinations.

You can voluntarily register non-commercial trailers that weigh over 750kg but there is no legal requirement to do this.