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The full text of the EU-UK trade deal is now publicly accessible. It shows how UK operators will be able to conduct one cabotage trip in the EU, while EU trucks will have the possibility to do two cabotage trips in the UK after a loaded inbound movement.

The full text of the agreement can be downloaded here; the section on road transport can be found on page 251 of the pdf file.

The start of the section mostly provides details on key definitions. The key text comes next, and is as follows:


Provided that the conditions in paragraph 2 are fulfilled, road haulage operators of a Party may undertake:

  • (a) laden journeys with a vehicle, from the territory of the Party of establishment to the territory of the other Party, and vice versa, with or without transit through the territory of a third country;
  • (b) laden journeys with a vehicle from the territory of the Party of establishment to the territory of the same Party with transit through the territory of the other Party;
  • (c) laden journeys with a vehicle to or from the territory of the Party of establishment with transit through the territory of the other Party;
  • (d) unladen journeys with a vehicle in conjunction with the journeys referred to in points (a) to (c).

2. Road haulage operators of a Party may only undertake a journey referred to in paragraph 1 if:

  • (a) they hold a valid licence issued in accordance with Article ROAD.5 [Requirements for operators], except in the cases referred to in Article ROAD.6 [Exemptions from licensing requirements]; and
  • (b) the journey is carried out by drivers who hold a Certificate of Professional Competence in accordance with Article ROAD.7(1) [Requirements for drivers].

3. Subject to paragraph 6, and provided that the conditions in paragraph 2 are fulfilled, road haulage operators of the United Kingdom may undertake up to two laden journeys from one Member State to another Member State, without returning to the territory of the United Kingdom, provided that such journeys follow a journey from the territory of the United Kingdom permitted under point (a) of paragraph 1.

4. Without prejudice to paragraph 5, subject to paragraph 6 and provided that the conditions in paragraph 2 are fulfilled, road haulage operators of the United Kingdom may undertake one laden journey within the territory of a Member State provided that operation:

  • (a) follows a journey from the territory of the United Kingdom permitted under point (a) of paragraph 1; and
  • (b) is performed within seven days of the unloading in the territory of that Member State of goods carried on the journey referred to in point (a).

5. Subject to paragraph 6 and provided that the conditions in paragraph 2 are fulfilled, road haulage operators of the United Kingdom established in Northern Ireland may undertake up to two laden journeys within the territory of Ireland provided that such operations:

  • (a) follow a journey from the territory of the Northern Ireland permitted under point (a) of paragraph 1; and
  • (b) are performed within seven days of the unloading in the territory of Ireland of goods carried on the journey referred to in point (a).

6. Road haulage operators of the United Kingdom shall be limited to a maximum of two journeys within the territory of the Union under paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 before returning to the territory of the United Kingdom.

7. Provided that the conditions in paragraph 2 are fulfilled, road haulage operators of the Union may undertake up to two laden journeys within the territory of the United Kingdom provided that such operations:

  • (a) follow a journey from the territory of the Union permitted under point (a) of paragraph 1; and
  • (b) are performed within seven days of the unloading in the territory of the United Kingdom of the goods carried on the journey referred to in point (a).

Understandably, the legal nature of the text doesn’t make it particularly easy to read.

However, the Road Haulage Association has compiled a simple summary of the changes:

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As you can see, combined transport operations between the EU and the UK will end, while both parties will be able to transport goods into each other’s territory.

UK hauliers will be able to cross the EU to make deliveries to countries like Switzerland. They can also freely cross the Republic of Ireland to make deliveries into Northern Ireland. On top of that, British hauliers may make one cabotage trip after a loaded trip into an EU state.

Meanwhile, EU hauliers will be able to undertake two cabotage trips after a loaded inbound movement. Aside from that and the end of the application of combined transport rules, EU hauliers will operate as normal.

Of course, new customs regulations shall also apply in January, which will inevitably slow down the process of bringing goods both into and out of the UK.

Moreover, it worth noting that all lorry drivers operating in the UK and the EU will have to observe the current regulations on drivers’ hours and tachographs. This shall not change and is mentioned in pages 253 and 254 of the agreement:


Article ROAD.7: Requirements for drivers

1 Drivers of the vehicles undertaking journeys as referred to in Article ROAD.4 [Transport of goods between, through and within the territories of the Parties] shall:

(a) hold a Certificate of Professional Competence issued in accordance with Section 1 of Part B of Annex ROAD- 1; and

(b) comply with the rules on driving and working time, rest periods, breaks and the use of tachographs in accordance with Sections 2 to 4 of Part B of Annex ROAD-1.


Photo credit: John Baker / Geograph UK (image edited)

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