Given Ireland’s unique geographic position, securing effective connectivity between Ireland, the UK and the rest of the EU has been a key priority of the Government’s Brexit planning. The provisions of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensure continuing connectivity with the UK in aviation, road freight, passenger transport and maritime. It also provides for continuing cross-border road freight and passenger connectivity on the Island of Ireland. Details of the specific provisions related to aviation and road haulage are set out below.
Traffic Management Plans for Dublin Port and Dublin City Road Network
Changes brought about by the introduction of border and customs controls between the EU and the UK resulted in additional controls in Dublin Port on imports and exports to, from and through GB.
The necessary facilities and systems have been established to allow these controls to take place. These are designed to minimise any disruption to traffic flows through Dublin Port.
However, as part of overall contingency planning, a traffic management contingency plan has been prepared to manage the impacts, should they arise, on the Dublin Port road network. This is particularly the case where traffic has the potential to impact on roads adjacent to the Port, including the Port Tunnel, the M50 and M1 motorways.
These contingency plans have been formulated by the Traffic Management Group, chaired by the Department of Transport, which includes representatives of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Dublin City Council, An Garda Siochána, Office of Public Works, Revenue Commissioners and Dublin Port Company.
The EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement includes a chapter on Air Transport which ensures continued connectivity by air between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The agreement allows for practical cooperation in the areas of aviation safety, security and air navigation.
Market access is provided by way of so-called third and fourth freedom traffic rights which allow for point to point access between the two jurisdictions e.g. Dublin-London and return for both EU and UK airlines. EU Member states may also conclude bilateral arrangements with the UK to provide for fifth freedom rights for cargo only services, subject to approval at EU level e.g. Dublin-London-New York for cargo only. UK carriers no longer have access to operate within the intra-EU air transport market e.g. Dublin-Amsterdam and EU carriers do not have access to the intra-UK market e.g. London-Edinburgh. In addition, there are certain new restrictions on commercial operations – leasing and codesharing arrangements – between EU and UK operators.
Since 1 January 2021, certain certificates issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency, to persons and organisations located in the UK are no longer valid in the EU. Holders of those certificates and licences should consult EASA and take the necessary steps to achieve European certification or licensing where that is possible.
International road haulage plays a critical role in facilitating Irish economic activity.
The UK is now outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. This means any business which moves goods from, to and through the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) is subject to a range of new customs formalities and other regulatory requirements. Businesses, including haulage and logistic companies, should be familiar with all documentation that is required for moving goods between Ireland and Great Britain. Hauliers will not be able to board ferries to and from Great Britain unless all documentation has been completed in advance and properly presented.
EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement
Many of Ireland’s key concerns in the area of international road haulage have been addressed in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and these are summarised below:-
Point to point transport of goods between both Parties (EU-UK) is included. This is quota-free and means that ECMT permits are not required.
Transit from Ireland/EU through the territory of the UK is included.
Cabotage* provisions are included, meaning EU operators can undertake up to 2 cabotage operations within the UK (including Northern Ireland).
*Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two places in the same country, as part of an international journey, by a transport operator from another country.
While nothing can replace the UK’s membership of the Single Market, these arrangements provide crucial underpinnings for the business model of many Irish international haulage operators. A no-deal scenario would not have guaranteed any of these rights and would have created a significantly more difficult situation for industry.
For UK hauliers, these additional operations can be composed of two cross-trade operations (i.e. transport operations between two Member States) or one cross-trade and one cabotage operation (i.e. a transport operation within two points of a single Member State). Special provisions are made in the case of Ireland, as Northern Irish hauliers will be able to perform up to two cabotage operations in Ireland if their journey commenced in Northern Ireland.
However, while there is now a very welcome Agreement, there are still some steps that hauliers and HGV drivers need to take – as not everything will stay the same. These are outlined further, below.
Driver licence and insurance requirements
UK driving licences are no longer valid for persons living in Ireland. However, the Minister for Transport has signed an agreement with the United Kingdom that will allow residents of Ireland with a UK driving licence to exchange that licence (under this new agreement) for an Irish driving licence.
This agreement will be of particular benefit to anyone planning to live in Ireland as it will allow them to exchange their UK licence for an Irish driving licence. It will also allow anyone who did not exchange their UK licence in time, before the deadline of 11pm on the 31 December 2020, to exchange it under this new agreement.
However, for anyone in this situation who didn’t exchange their UK licence by the deadline, their UK licence is no longer valid to drive in Ireland, it is only valid for exchange purposes. It is imperative that it be exchanged immediately.
Visiting Ireland on a UK licence: The requirement to exchange your licence only applies to people resident in Ireland and does not apply to, or affect visitors or holidaymakers in Ireland. UK visitors to Ireland can drive in Ireland with your existing driving licence. You will not be required to carry an International Driving Permit with you in order to drive here, just ensure to carry your UK driving licence with you.
Driving in the UK on an Irish licence: The UK Government has advised that arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK, including Northern Ireland, has not changed. Therefore, visitors to GB or Northern Ireland with driving licences from EU Member States, including Ireland, should enjoy the same arrangements as before.
Certificates of Professional Competence
Holders of UK issued Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) for Drivers and Transport Managers may need to take specific steps to ensure their continued validity after the transition period and recognition of such in Ireland.
As and from the 1 January 2021 UK Driver CPC cards are no longer valid in Ireland and it is not possible to exchange a UK Driver CPC card for an Irish Driver CPC card.
In the event a driver has not made an application to exchange their UK Driver CPC card before the 31 December 2020, the driver will be required to ‘re-establish’ their entitlement to a Driver CPC qualification by completing five days of Driver CPC periodic training in an RSA approved Driver CPC Training Organisation before obtaining a new Driver CPC card.
As advised previously, those holding UK-issued Transport Management CPCs and working for an Irish operator and residing in Ireland should by 31 December have applied to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport to be issued with a corresponding Irish Transport Manager CPC. A UK-issued Transport Manager CPC is no longer valid for persons working for an EU Road Transport Operator.
EU Regulation 1071/2009 requires that the Transport Manager of an EU operator is resident in the EU. Any Transport Manager designated for an Irish licenced operator who is resident in the UK will no longer meet this requirement after 31 December 2020. The Department is aware of a small number of Transport Managers that may fall into this category. This situation can be rectified either by the Transport Manager becoming resident in the EU or by the operator designating a new Transport Manager who meets the requirements.
Under Article 13(1)(a) of 1071/2009 the Department of Transport can give up to 6 months ‘for the recruitment of a replacement transport manager where the transport manager no longer satisfies the requirement as to good repute or professional competence’.
Irish road transport operators whose Transport Managers hold a UK-issued CPC will be allowed a period of up to a maximum of six months in which to ensure that the professional competence requirement for their operator licence is once again satisfied, in accordance with Article 13 of Regulation (EC) 1071/2009, that is, to ensure that their nominated Transport Manager is the holder of a CPC issued by an EU Member State.
In the case of both the above requirements (an EU issued Transport Manager CPC and EU residency) the Department has outlined that Irish licenced operators that fail to meet one or other of these requirements due to Brexit, will be given up to 6 months to rectify the situation.
Licensees are reminded that if they fall into the above category that they should begin the process of rectifying the situation as soon as possible, in order to ensure that their licence remains valid in 2021.
The European Commission published Notices in relation to the implications of Brexit for road transport as far back as January 2018, with an update published in July 2020. Both of these Notices outlined EU law in relation to driver attestation and the implications of this for UK nationals working for Irish haulage operators.
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement does not contain any provision “waiving” this requirement to hold a driver attestation if a HGV driver working for an Irish/EU haulage operator is a UK national, and therefore any affected operators should apply to the Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit of the Department of Transport and complete a driver attestation form for any of their drivers who are UK nationals.
Motor Insurance and Green Cards (Proof of insurance)
A green card is a document which can be presented to law enforcement officers on request, as proof of motor insurance while in international travel. The EU Motor Insurance Directive allows all motor vehicles from any EU Member States to travel within the EU without the requirement to carry a Green Card.
This Directive no longer applies to the UK, meaning UK and Northern Ireland-registered vehicles entering Ireland, or any EU Member State, from 1 January 2021 will require a Green Card as proof of motor insurance. This means that since 1 January 2021, UK and Northern Ireland registered vehicles will require a Green Card for cross-border journeys, including North to South, on the island of Ireland.
For EU-registered vehicles entering the UK, the UK confirmed in the lead-up to a possible no deal Brexit in October 2019 that it will accept either a Green Card or other proof of insurance. In the case of Irish-registered vehicles, the UK has confirmed that it will accept the motor insurance disc as proof of insurance. This means, based on the UK position , that Green Cards will not be required for Irish-registered vehicles entering Northern Ireland or Great Britain.