Response to suggested relaxation of cabotage rules

Perishable Movements Ltd – the provider of world-class logistics and supply chain solutions – has responded to reports relating to a potential relaxation of the rules governing the number of permitted deliveries a transport operator from another EU Member State can make within the UK – known as cabotage (Regulation (EC) 1072/2009).

Currently, under the terms of the UK-EU trade deal, non-UK EU hauliers are entitled to perform up to two extra cabotage operations within a seven-day period, commencing the day after delivering a load into Britain. This is in contrast to the three cabotage operations that are permitted within EU member states. The original purpose of the ruling was to improve the efficiency of road freight transport by reducing empty trips after the unloading of international transport operations.

European hauliers have called upon the Prime Minister to change the UK rules to enable drivers to perform three cabotage operations to make any trip to the UK worthwhile whilst also resolving the country’s current supply chain crisis. However, whilst we welcome the valued support of the European driver workforce, PML does not believe that this plan – if it comes to fruition – would be in the best interests of the drivers concerned.

Once again, this would represent a total disregard for driver safety and welfare. As a business, we have already spoken out on a number of occasions on the poor working environment for HGV drivers operating in the UK, who frankly, are regularly exposed to unsatisfactory – even inhumane – conditions. In this country, there is an abject failure to meet the basic needs of drivers to ensure they are able to perform their duties. As fellow human beings, they are entitled to access to facilities that provide them with a safe and secure place to park without fear of a break-in; essential shower and toilet amenities; healthy food and drink and designated spots for a well-earned break and sleep without fear of abuse or disruption.

By not providing these essential services, we are putting the safety of drivers at risk. And let’s not forget, a driver who has not had sufficient sleep or who is hungry/thirsty is potentially a driver more pre-disposed to causing an accident and therefore represents a significant danger.

Increasing the number of operations, EU drivers are able to perform in the UK – a country which, when compared with its European counterparts, has a very poor track record for the provision of services to encourage driver welfare and wellbeing – is a recipe for disaster.

At a time when HGV drivers are under such tremendous pressure, PML is working hard to demonstrate its duty of care to these essential workers, and we have exciting plans afoot at our new Lympne, Kent operation which will offer a suite of services to support driver health and comfort, delivered in a safe and secure environment.