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New Rules For Transporting Goods to the EU

Ford Transit Connect

New rules are coming into effect this year that change how goods are transported to the EU.

Starting May 2022, vehicles between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes will need an International Operator’s Licence to cross international borders. This will apply to any vehicle conducting activities for “hire or reward”, which essentially means road haulage and a few other activities.

These rules apply to vans and light goods vehicles, as well as pickup trucks and cars towing trailers if they exceed the gross weight limit of 2.5 tonnes. They do not apply when transporting non-commercial goods, such as using your van to carry equipment that is not intended to be sold.

The Operator’s Licence is not required for vehicles that do not leave the UK, though the Department for Transport may introduce an internal licence in the future.

One border that could be affected, however, is Northern Ireland. As the Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union, the licence will be required to transport goods to and from that country.

A consultation, published in June 2021, gathered data for the new rules based on UK-EU negotiations. The agreement required the UK to implement parts of the EU Mobility Package, leading to changes in the UK Operator Licence rules.

Operator Licence

Operator licensing is regulated by the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995. Currently, the licence covers goods vehicles and buses weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, and it is only through the new EU-UK negotiations that the UK has extended the licence to include 2.5 to 3.5 tonne goods vehicles.

For now, none of this matters if you work exclusively in mainland UK. If, however, your work takes you across borders to the EU, then we advise you make yourself aware of the new rules.