Thursday 28 January 2021

Drivers’ hours rules relaxed for essential deliveries

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced temporary, limited relaxations of EU drivers’ hours rules across Great Britain for the delivery of essential items from ports and to retailers.

The relaxations are now in force and will apply until 11:59pm on 30 December, subject to review. Operators must notify DfT if the relaxation is used. The required contact details, and full information on the specific ways in which hours can be relaxed and the conditions which must be met, are available at the gov.uk website.

The move comes as the triple-pronged challenge of Brexit, Covid-19 and Christmas descends on the supply chain, with delays at ports owing to the pandemic exacerbated by the stockpiling of goods ahead of the end of the transition period on 1 January.

The changes, which took effect yesterday, have been made “as a consequence of urgent and exceptional issues related to certain road transport operations, including in the context of port congestion, unusual demand patterns and the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19)-related restrictions on supply chains and demand on them,” said DfT.

“The relaxation applies to anyone driving within Great Britain under the EU drivers’ hours rules involved in the transport of food and other essential goods from ports within Great Britain,” said the department.

“This includes driving of mixed loads with a significant content of such goods. Essential goods include category 1 goods [such as medicines and vaccines]. Where transports of other goods are required to enable category 1 goods to be moved out of ports, the relaxation is also applicable.”

The relaxation also applies to those involved in the transport of: “food and other essential goods for retail, including mixed loads with a significant content of such goods.

“This category includes [journeys from]: distribution centre to stores (or fulfilment centre); from manufacturer or supplier to distribution centre (including backhaul collections); from manufacturer or supplier to store (or fulfilment centre); between distribution centres and transport hub trunking; [and] transport hub deliveries to stores.”

Full details are available from the gov.uk website.

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