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Lorry driver shortage:

UK government to lift rules on foreign haulier deliveries

In a government attempt to tackle supply chain problems, the rules on the number of deliveries overseas lorry drivers can make in the UK are set to be relaxed. Under the new plans, drivers will be able to make unlimited deliveries or collections within a 14-day period. Up until now, EU drivers could only make two pick-ups or drop-offs each week.

The HGV driver shortage experienced in the UK - due to a combination of Covid, Brexit, and other factors - has affected petrol stations and supermarkets, and left containers piled up at Felixstowe Port.

Last month, the government announced it would grant up to 5,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers from abroad, but so far only a fraction has been issued, and the first foreign drivers brought in on the visa scheme may not even arrive for another month. But now ministers are going further, and plan to make temporary changes to cabotage rules, which govern how many jobs a haulier can make in a foreign country.

It means foreign HGV drivers that come into the country laden with goods can pick up and drop off items an unlimited number of times for two weeks before they return home. The amendments still need to be approved after a one-week consultation, but if passed they will come into force "towards the end of this year for up to six months", according to the government. It is hoped that this will enable thousands more HGV deliveries each month.

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