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While the Brexit deal has left artists furious about the added restrictions and costs that make it all but unfeasible to tour in the EU, British haulage firms responsible for transporting bands and their equipment have said it has left them unable to function.

The Brexit deal means that UK trucking companies can make only two moves of equipment within the EU before returning home within seven days. Additional export paperwork, required to move hired equipment into the EU, is also complicating matters. See below for the Government’s explanation of the new rules.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Transam Trucking director Natasha Highcroft said the company – which has worked with artists including U2, Iron Maiden and Guns ‘N’ Roses – cannot function under the new rules. Having acquired Edwin Shirly Trucking in 2011, the Suffolk-based company operates around 140 trucks and employs around 150 staff, making it one of the biggest concert trucking operators in the UK.

She said, “The UK is a market leader in this industry and punches well above its weight. We’re an integral part of the touring crew, and bands trust us to get them between shows using specialised vehicles.

“That means double, sometimes triple drivers for overnight moves, and the experienced staff to get bands set up.”

She said the business has been advised that once coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted and touring can recommence, it should set up in the EU in order to be able to operate under the new controls.

Richard Brown, transport manager at FlybyNite, which operates around 180 trucks said around 85% of touring in Europe is done by British companies, which have been left “high and dry” by Brexit: “Our only option is to move half the fleet to the EU, which means job losses here and loss of revenue for the UK government.”

Government guidance on the haulage of music and other event equipment both out of the UK into the EU and from the EU to the UK on a temporary basis is as follows:

UK operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the EU. Up to two additional movements (cross-trade or cabotage) may be undertaken within the EU following a laden journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage movement within a 7-day period.

  • Both additional movements may be cabotage movements in Ireland for Northern Ireland operators provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland, and are performed within a 7-day period.
  • UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to 3 cross-trade movements (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.
  • EU operators can undertake unlimited journeys to, from and through the UK, with up to 2 cabotage movements in the UK, provided they are performed following a journey from the EU, and within 7 days of unloading in the UK.

An overview of which documents, licenses and permits hauliers and commercial drivers need to apply for is available on the gov.uk guidance page.