Removing obstacles to doing business internationally both at the border and on the roads.

As the UK settles into its new international position outside the European Union and develops its Borders 2025 strategy, the RHA is representing the interests of its members at every stage to help those with overseas business interests adjust to the new world. 

The unique situation in Northern Ireland requires collaboration and recognition of the importance and sensitivity of the additional issues. The RHA is a leading voice of commercial driving business in Northern Ireland and works with Government to develop workable solutions to issues.

The M20 – Dover Straits route is Great Britain’s most important corridor for international road freight. It is the busiest route for Roll on, Roll off (RoRo) freight in Europe accounting for around 12% of UK trade. It accounts for around 3.6 million lorry movements per year, 55% of the market. It is the main corridor for fresh food to move between the UK and continental Europe and is the most important route for time sensitive manufacturing components. The RHA is working closely with Government and UK Ports of Entry, particularly in the Short Straits, to ensure the infrastructure is in place to keep trade moving on this vital route. 

Border controls increase delays and costs, which for consumers means higher prices. The new Border Target Operating Model for imports was published on 29 August 2023, with checks brought in on 30 April 2024 and further changes to be made up to 21 October 2024. The RHA regularly engages with government to ensure they are aware of the issues caused by the new systems and checks, including the effect on groupage, and movement of time sensitive goods.

On exports, newly enforced EU rules are harder to influence but no less important to members. Members used to the seamless travel we experienced as members of the EU have to adapt to new restrictions, including:

  • Schengen Travel Restrictions.
  • The EU Entry/Exit System (EES), which is set to be introduced on 6 October 2024.
  • The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, which is set to be introduced early 2025.

Following RHA lobbying, Government is increasingly aware of the impact of these issues on British commercial driving businesses and is considering solutions. 

On international matters, the RHA asks that Government: 

  • Recognises that, unlike other businesses operating overseas, for the road haulage industry the European Union is the only available market.
  • Ensures the necessary physical and technological infrastructure for border controls is put in place well ahead of time to ensure smooth goods flows as changes are enacted.
  • Push for technological solutions to address issues resulting from our third country status that would otherwise cause delays in freight and people movements.
  • Industry supported solutions to the important issues that have arisen, including the effect of Schengen Travel restrictions on British commercial driving businesses and the unique situation in Northern Ireland.