5 Challenges Facing Dutch & Belgian Hauliers Operating Trucks in the UK (And How to Overcome Them)
Dutch and Belgian trucks carry a large percentage of all the goods that enter the UK each year by road. Without this vital trade, the UK economy would very quickly run into trouble.
Transport companies in the Netherlands and Belgium are some of the most advanced and legally compliant anywhere in the EU. In many of the larger companies millions of Euros are spent each year on tracking technology, planning staff, driver training, and vehicle maintenance.
Despite this impressive level of investment, even the best Dutch and Belgian hauliers can hit difficulties with many of the day to day realities of operating trucks into the UK. With the fall in the value of the pound and the ongoing uncertainties surrounding Brexit, there are few signs the situation is set to improve soon.
We look at 5 of the main challenges faced by Dutch and Belgian Hauliers, and how to overcome them.
1) Heavy Fines for Carrying Illegal Clandestine Entrants (Illegal Immigrants)
In recent years, operating loads into the UK through ports like Calais and Dunkirk has been fraught will risk. Dutch and Belgian hauliers have had their trucks damaged and broken into by Clandestine Entrants, desperate to smuggle themselves into the UK. If a truck is found carrying such people, the operator can be hit with fines running into tens of thousands of Euros.
The Good News
These fines can be challenged if you know how. A detailed written objection can be submitted, enclosing supporting evidence. This will often have the effect of reducing or cancelling the fine without the need to go to court. In some cases, it will be necessary to go to Court in the UK to get the fine overturned.
Because these fines are governed by UK law, always seek the help of a UK Transport Lawyer. They will be able to prepare your written objection and tell you what evidence you need to submit. They can also go to court for you to fight the fine on your behalf.
For more information about challenging Penalties for Clandestine Entrants, click here.
2) Trucks Seized by the UK Authorities
Every year the UK police and Border Force seize and detain many hundreds of foreign registered trucks. This can leave a Dutch or Belgian transport business suddenly without the use of a truck, sometimes permanently.
There are many reasons a truck might be seized. Sometimes, all in takes is for a driver not to complete the correct cabotage paperwork for his journey. In other cases, the UK police may be holding it as evidence in a police investigation. If a truck seizure is not challenged correctly, the vehicle will often be sold or destroyed.
The Good News
Provided you know what you need to do, it is usually possible to get your vehicle returned to you. If it has been seized for breaching cabotage rules, you will need to attend a hearing in the UK and argue for its release. If it has been seized by the police as evidence, you will usually need to contact the police officer directly.
As with Civil Penalties, it is always easier to instruct a UK Transport Lawyer who knows the law and can fight for your truck back on your behalf.
For more on Truck Seizures click here.
3) UK Clampdown on Foreign Trucks
In recent months, the British media has been keen to draw attention to the high number of unsafe non-UK registered trucks on the roads. As a result, the police, DVSA and Border Force have been carrying out additional checks on non-UK vehicles. This means that a Dutch or Belgian haulier is more likely than ever to have one of their trucks stopped and inspected.
The Good News
Provided you run a safe and efficient operation, you should have few problems. Always have a UK Lawyer on standby so you can react quickly to problems as they occur.
4) Not Enough Secure Parking Spaces
The South of England has a big problem with shortage of truck parking. Many truck drivers who cannot find a safe place to park have taken to illegally parking on motorway hard-shoulders. Even when secure parking is available, it is often expensive. A lack of secure parking has resulted in an ongoing problem of trucks being broken into and loads stolen across the UK.
The Good News
The UK Government is under increasing pressure to build many more truck parks. Last year they announced plans for a “Disneyland sized” truck park in the south of England. If this commitment, and others like it, are kept to, Dutch and Belgian Hauliers can expect the parking situation in the UK to improve in the coming years.
5) Uncooperative UK Authorities
There are many excellent, helpful and dedicated people that work for the various departments that enforce the law on the UK roads and borders. Unfortunately, as many Dutch and Belgian operators know, there are also some less cooperative ones. We are frequently contacted by clients from Belgium, the Netherlands, and other parts of the EU who are having difficulties getting even basic information and assistance from the UK authorities.
Time is money, and most transport businesses want to do everything they can to resolve their problems quickly and efficiently.
The Good News
Help is on hand. At Smith Bowyer Clarke our lawyers are all experts in the field of UK Road Transport Law. We are frequently instructed by Dutch and Belgian Hauliers and businesses looking for quick, efficient solutions to their problems.
We operate a 24/7 emergency helpline. Whatever your query is, call one of our lawyers today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you and your business.
Chris Powell is a Road Transport Lawyer at Smith Bowyer Clarke Road Transport Lawyers.