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Government proposes new plan to increase goods deliveries in UK Team
15 October 2021

The Government is planning to increase deliveries across the country by changing the rules around companies’ trading rights.

A consultation is being launched on Friday on companies’ “cabotage” rights, with Whitehall proposing to extend them to strengthen supply chains and prevent shops running out of goods or putting prices up.

Cabotage rules govern the transport of goods or passengers within one country by a transport operator from a different country. Currently hauliers from the EU can only make up to two trips between two places in the UK within one week.

The measures would allow foreign operators to pick up and drop off goods an unlimited number of times over a two-week period before they return to their country of origin. If approved after the one-week consultation, the proposals would come into force before the end of the year and last for six months.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The long-term answer to the supply chain issues we’re currently experiencing must be developing a high-skill, high-wage economy here in the UK.

“Alongside a raft of other measures to help the road haulage industry, we’ve streamlined the testing process and announced thousands of skills boot camps to train new drivers.

“These new measures are working – we’ve been seeing up to three times more applications for HGV driving licences than normal as well as a deserved rise in salaries.

“The temporary changes we’re consulting on to cabotage rules will also make sure foreign hauliers in the UK can use their time effectively and get more goods moving in the supply chain at a time of high demand.”

The Government said the cabotage changes would apply to all types of goods but be “particularly beneficial” to food supply chains and imports that arrive from ports.

Retailers have expressed fears ongoing supply chain problems will result in higher prices and empty shelves into December. Yesterday the British Retail Consortium revealed that the majority of retail bosses plan to put up prices on goods by the end of the year and one in 10 have already done so.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said a recent poll of chief executives found that three out of five plan price rises later this year due to soaring supply chain costs.

“The supply chain issues are the priority for all businesses right now. It is complicated because this looks slightly different for everyone, but they all see an immediacy to this issue.

“They are thinking about Christmas. It is the most important period of the year for a retailer – takings for a non-food retailer in December are an average of 70% higher than other months.

“They are doing everything they can right now to make sure it can be as smooth as possible," she said.

A build-up of cargo in Felixstowe has led to shipping company Maersk opting to divert vessels away from the Suffolk port, while similar logjams have been seen elsewhere in the world, including in the US.


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