Brexit impact on hauliers has severe implications for the agriculture industry

96% of UK hauliers 'not ready for transition': many need clarity on border legislation & overwhelmed by admin
calendar icon 28 December 2020
clock icon 5 minute read

The impact on hauliers has severe implications for the agriculture industry. Lord Teverson, Chair of the EU Environment Sub-Committee, warns that food and farming business do not know what rules apply: "Without clear information it is impossible for businesses to adjust, which will mean that from 1 January their produce may not be picked up by hauliers, might be turned around at the border, or in the worst case could spoil in vans."

A new study reveals that many UK hauliers remain unprepared for the end of the Brexit transition period, with just 3% stating that they are totally prepared for the transition. 84% of respondents stated that they needed more clarity on border legislation changes from the government.

Specialist haulage solutions platform, Haulage Exchange, asked employees from 32 UK-based haulage companies for their insights on how Brexit has affected – and will affect – their business, how prepared for the end of the transition they feel, and what they need to be sufficiently prepared for the changes.

Confusion around the transition is further revealed as 66% of respondents state that they are not prepared to present the Safety and Security Declarations at customs – as they assumed these documents were the responsibility of the exporter or importer instead of the haulier or courier.

With the EU and UK’s haulage industries deeply connected, clear guidance is by far the biggest thing missing from the Brexit transition process where most hauliers are concerned. While the majority want clarity on changes to border legislation, almost half (47%) state that they simply need more time to get the necessary admin done.

Customs remains a sticking point

Nearly 3 in 4 haulage companies (72%) believe that they will be negatively impacted by customs changes following the end of the transition period.

Alongside their expectations of harmful customs changes, a large proportion of hauliers don’t feel equipped to deal with them - 62% of haulage companies believe that they need to be more prepared for changes to custom checks when exporting and importing goods to the EU. Staggeringly, a further 28% of these companies are ‘not at all’ prepared for the upcoming customs changes.

How many feel that they are prepared for customs?

  • 12% of respondents state that they’re sufficiently prepared, with 9% of these stating that they have invested heavily to ensure all is in place and understood
  • 13% of haulage respondents have trained their hauliers and couriers to fill in the Safety and Security Declarations themselves
  • 13% will have these declarations filled in manually by admin staff on behalf of the hauliers
  • 9% have implemented technology software to automatically fill these declarations

"What changes do you believe will most impact your company after the 1st January 2021?"

Increased waiting times at the border (75%) and more time spent on pre-crossing admin (66%) are the changes that most people expect to have an impact day-to-day.

  • Increased waiting time at the border - 75%
  • Increased time spent in admin in preparation to cross the border - 66%
  • Higher tariffs imposed on goods - 50%
  • Less access to European goods - 44%
  • Changing licensing and registration requirements - 41%
  • Less access to European staff - 25%
  • We don’t believe we’ll be impacted - 6%

"What does your company need to make the Brexit transition more manageable?"

In order to dilute the sting from the transition, hauliers are seeking additional clarity and support for their companies, as well as more time to complete the required admin.

  • More clarity on border legislation changes from the government - 84%
  • More time to make the legislation changes and get the required admin in order - 47%
  • Additional financial support to implement new software technology - 22%
  • Additional staff support - 19%
  • Nothing, we are totally prepared - 3%

Full findings from the UK Hauliers Brexit Transition survey can be found on the Haulage Exchange website.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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