The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has published a report on the implications of Brexit for road, rail and maritime transport.

Available at, this argues that there are many questions still to be answered on future UK-EU transport connectivity.

The report, which includes evidence from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA), examines what will be needed to maintain connectivity in the road, rail and maritime sectors under a new UK-EU relationship, whatever form this may take.

“UK hauliers currently rely on the EU’s Community Licence system to carry goods between the UK and the EU,” it points out. “The published positions of the UK Government and the EU suggest that the continuation of this system is not a likely outcome.”

The majority of goods imported to and exported from the UK are handled by overseas hauliers, mostly by vehicles registered in Poland, Ireland and Romania.

With regard to vehicle standards, the Sub-Committee argues that, if the EU retains its influence on international vehicle standards, the UK will have a continuing interest in its position, which will be more difficult to influence after Brexit.

There may however be opportunities in areas relating to newer technologies for the UK to take a leading role in international standard-setting.

The Sub-Committee Chairman, Lord Whitty, said: “Whatever the nature of the future UK-EU relationship, maintaining surface transport links will be vital. The UK's interests and priorities vary between transport modes. Road transport, for example, is heavily regulated at the EU level whereas the maritime sector is largely underpinned by international law.”

Having put road haulage in the context of EU legislation, the report goes on to examine areas such as cabotage, cross-trade, ECMT permits, Operation Brock and future regulatory alignment.

Last reviewed 10 June 2019