What is cabotage?

Although it sounds like a culinary dish – a cabbage compote (?) – cabotage is defined as the transport of goods or passengers between two places in the same country by a transport operator from another country.

Its present relevance is a rule that restricts hauliers from the EU who can only make two cabotage trips within seven days.

In an announcement by the Department of Transport issued 14th October, there is a proposal to extend cabotage to foreign transport operators that would allow them to make unlimited journeys for two weeks before returning home.

Could it be yet another attempt to ease the present supply issues?

The announcement goes on to say:

“Thousands more HGV deliveries could be made each month in the UK under government plans to help bolster the country’s supply chains by temporarily extending so-called ‘cabotage’ rights.

Subject to a one-week consultation, the temporary measures would come into force towards the end of this year for up to six months, helping secure supply chains in the medium term alongside the wider package of measures government has put in place to address the shortage of drivers more broadly.

The relaxation would apply to all types of goods but is likely to be particularly beneficial to food supply chains and goods that come via ports, by ensuring lorries from abroad coming into the UK are used more efficiently, helping to tackle the temporary global supply chain pressures brought on by the pandemic and the global economy rebounding.

It comes as the government continues to address the current global shortage of HGV drivers which is affecting countries around the world and builds on the raft of measures that have already been announced to support the sector, including boosting testing capacity, and streamlining the licence process.”

This is good news for UK businesses that are supplied from the EU. Fingers crossed that it is introduced in time for Christmas…

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