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UK-EU trade deal presents opportunities for modal shift

CLdN’s MV ‘Vespertine’ passing the Calandbridge for berthing at C.RO Ports Rotterdam

CLdN very much welcomes the recently closed Brexit deal, bringing relief to our customers, as tariff- and quota-free trade of goods between the EU and the UK seems to be safeguarded.

However, there should be no misunderstanding within the market that despite the trade deal customs formalities will stay in place.

There appears to be a general misconception that with this recent trade deal, the import and export formalities will no longer apply.
For this reason, we wish to urge all parties trading between the continent and the UK, to continue their efforts preparing for customs formalities when the transitional period ends on 31 December 2020. The Free Trade Agreement generally avoids import duties on goods shipped, but this does not mean that the full export and import processes including all messaging with community platforms, clearing of cargoes, data requirements, border inspections, etc. will be waived.

On a positive note, CLdN believes that the Brexit deal will provide a further boost for (customers of) driver-accompanied freight operators to switch to unaccompanied freight transport. This is so because the EU and UK have now agreed to reduce the amount of loaded voyages a non-UK driver can perform in the UK from three to two trips before he has to return to the EU, which will severely impact the accompanied freight business model.

Further, delays at the border due to additional border and customs formalities, including COVID-19 testing of drivers, will certainly have a long term effect on the operating costs of the driver accompanied operator.

As a result, CldN witnesses how more and more operators are shifting to its unaccompanied North Sea crossings. By deploying additional freight capacity we are and will be accommodating additional customer demand going forward and will be assisting operators to set up their unaccompanied service by matching them with UK and EU hauliers.
With little time left before the first of January 2021, CLdN would like to call on all stakeholders to speed up their Brexit preparedness, so we can guarantee a continued good service for existing and new customers.

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