9th February 2022, 16:24
Hauliers from the European Union, including Spanish operators, will require a permit in order to operate in Gibraltar after 1st March.
This is a reciprocal measure after drivers of Gibraltar registered commercial vehicles, operating in Spain, were given notice that they will need a permit, or an employment contract in Spain.
The new requirements are the latest Brexit obstacles to have come about as a consequence of Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union and the end of the transition period.
They are in line with the policy of reciprocity, the accepted standard in international relations.
It's the second obvious measure of reciprocity that will be felt on the ground. As from 1st October blue ID card holders got their passports stamped at the frontier after the UK stopped accepting EU ID cards. Red ID cards are being accepted but only as an interim gesture of goodwill.
An information leaflet will be distributed to drivers of commercial vehicles coming in through the border which will spell out, in different languages, the reason for the change in approach and the steps they need to take to regularise their position.
There will be a period of adjustment to enable EU hauliers to comply with the arrangements.
The Government says the logical consequence of this would be that those hauliers without a permit would be required to unload their goods at the border and transfer the load to a Gibraltar-registered company for onwards local delivery.
The end of the EU legal framework for the carriage of goods and passengers has led the United Kingdom to apply for the extension to Gibraltar of the relevant Council of Europe international conventions.
However, it says, these have been held up in the Council of Europe even though the issue could have been resolved in an instant through such extensions.
So this is a situation that may have been averted.
Hauliers will feel the effects of the new measures which could result in added bureaucracy and delays. And, the last thing those working towards a treaty will want are issues of friction at this stage of the negotiations.
The Government has been in contact with Gibraltar’s operators and business organisations to appraise them of the situation. It points out there are 13 road haulage companies in Gibraltar with 319 employees, of whom 230 are EU or Spanish citizens, adding this is clearly not in the interests of anyone. The matter has been taken up with the relevant authorities in the UK and Spain.