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Land Transport

Wednesday 20 January 2021

On 24 December 2020, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) reached an agreement in principle on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK. Due to the timing of the agreement and in light of the exceptional circumstances, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will apply on a provisional basis and for a limited period of time, until 28 February 2021, a date that may be modified by mutual consent between the EU and the UK at the Association Council.

Prior to the date of 31 December 2020, companies and professionals that engage in transportation with the United Kingdom must have prepared themselves for the new situation, which will necessarily involve changes in the running of their operations as from 1 January 2021.

It is very important to recall that the certificates obtained under EU regulations on land transport and that enjoy reciprocal recognition in this field will cease to be subject to this framework. Thus, for example, professional aptitude certificates and professional driver qualification cards issued by the United Kingdom will not be valid in the EU as from 1 January.

Accordingly, if a professional driver of passenger or goods transport holds a driver qualification card that accredits a professional aptitude certificate (Spanish acronym: CAP) issued by the UK and wishes to work for a company established in an EU Member State after Brexit, they should obtain a new card, which would mean taking the corresponding continuous training course in that State.

Requirements for Spanish hauliers to engage in transport with the UK

a) Transport of goods:

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for liberalised bilateral transport (EU-UK), in other words, without contingents, for road hauliers between the EU and the UK. This means that Spanish goods transport companies by road may continue to perform an unlimited number of operations from any point in the EU to the UK, and return from the UK to any place in the EU, also on an unlimited basis, under the protection of their EU licences.
As regards cabotage operations, the number of operations allowed is reduced from seven to three days, and to only two operations in a seven-day period after international transportation.
The main change in the performance of the transport of goods by road in the Brexit scenario stems from the customs and non-customs controls that had not previously needed to be met as members of the internal market.
The aim of this document is to provide a response to potential doubts and concerns from citizens and professionals on the impact Brexit may have in those areas under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, which can be consulted in the Q&A section set out hereinbelow.

b) Transport of coach passengers

Regular and special regular transport is guaranteed under the same terms as at present in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and hence authorised Spanish companies for transport with the UK may continue to perform these routes within the scope of their authorisation.

Occasional transport will be carried out within the framework of the Interbus Agreement.

I am a Spanish road haulier, what do I need to transport goods to the United Kingdom as of 1 January?

EU licences for international transport of goods will remain valid in the territory of the UK.

I am a Spanish road haulier with an EU licence and I wish to transport oranges from Almeria to London, and then perform a cabotage operation between London and Birmingham, what should I take into account to engage in this form of transport as from 1 January?

As regards international transport into the United Kingdom and the subsequent cabotage operation, you may continue to do this as previously, using your EU licence. However, you should take into account that the latter type of operation is limited to a maximum of two operations in a seven-day period as from the end of the international transport into the United Kingdom.

Are there any special provisions to guarantee the transport of goods by road between Ireland and the rest of the EU?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement authorises the right of transit. This means that EU hauliers may cross Great Britain to Ireland (the so-called "land bridge"). These provisions will allow the continuation of logistical links between Ireland and the rest of the EU through the UK.

Will coach services be able to operate between the EU and the UK as before?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK will allow regular international coach services to continue to join the EU and the UK. Its provisions are contained in the Protocol to the Interbus Agreement on regular and special regular services, which it is expected will enter into force over the course of 2021. As from the entry into force of this Protocol, the equivalent provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement will no longer apply.

Occasional international services will be performed in accordance with the 2002 Interbus Multilateral Agreement, which spans the EU together with seven non-EU countries. The UK will sign up to this agreement on 1 January 2021.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement also contains special provisions applicable to the island of Ireland, whereby occasional coach services that connect Ireland and Northern Ireland may continue their services on the same basis as before.

Do I need to use a tachograph to perform passenger or goods transport services to the UK?

Both the regulations on driving and rest times and the use of the tachograph must be complied with, in the same way as the regulations that govern the situation at present under which transport is performed, particularly the working conditions of drivers, the professional qualification requirements and the conditions under which road hauliers gain access to the EU market.

You can find more information on the following web pages:


Non official translation


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