Northern Ireland news

NI to get just 60 haulage permits in no-deal Brexit, freight body warns

Lorries parked on the M20 in Ashford, Kent in England
Brendan Hughes

NORTHERN Ireland will be issued with just 60 haulage permits to operate on the EU continent in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a freight body has warned.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it means "at any given time, only 60 NI-registered goods vehicles would be allowed to operate in the EU".

It said Stormont's Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has given assurances that Northern Ireland will have an exemption for journeys to the Republic.

However, FTI yesterday said it understood this deal with the Dublin government "has not yet been finalised".

"Regardless of such an agreement, 60 permits will still not be sufficient for those NI hauliers responsible for transporting valuable exports to the continent," the group said.

Commercial vehicle operators will need European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits to transport goods to the European Union and European Economic Area if there is a no-deal Brexit, FTI said.

It said applications for 2019's annual permits opened yesterday and close on December 21.

But it warned the expected allocation of permits across the north and Britain is "likely to cover only five per cent of the current vehicle journeys made between the UK and EU".

Sarah Laouadi, FTA's european policy manager, urged businesses to "continue their contingency planning in case a no-deal exit occurs".

DfI did not respond yesterday to requests for a comment.

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