One thing fleet managers know if the duties of their commercial fleet involves delivering to Europe is, indeed, the duties. As well as having to take out EU travel as an ancillary product on your base van insurance policy, UK commercial drivers are charged a levy for delivering to the Continent.
If you are only servicing one customer and that delivery is infrequent, rather than shell out for the extra van insurance and the head-ache of handling duty paperwork, it is often cheaper to hire a courier firm for those odd occasions that you do ship goods and come to an agreement with the customer regarding the volatile nature of those logistic charges.
Up until now, this has been a one-way street and drivers coming to the UK from Europe – or further away and just using France, Belgium or Holland as the ferry crossing point – have done so without charge. Their commercial vehicle insurance is taken out in their country of origin, any duties paid are for the ferry crossing and many fill up on the mainland to save on diesel because of the price when they get to the UK (doesn’t that tell you something!).
The government is now looking at changing this as they see an ever-increasing volume of heavy-goods vehicles taking it out on UK roads but not contributing a penny to the treasury coffers. The Freight Transport Association have welcomed this change of tack, but are wary of who will be in charge of charging, who’ll be monitoring the fees and, of course, will the move actually create the need for jobs within the private sector who handle a lot of import product that the sum of the envisaged charges don’t support monetarily? Yes, it would be great to contribute more to the economy, but at whose expense?
Simon Chapman, chief economist at the FTA, was on hand to comment that the final details of any firm proposal would be finely scrutinised and that, all things considered, the planned charges would have to prove a positive effect for UK operators, rather than a negative.
If you are considering export as a way to expand your business but had not factored in the extra cover on your fleet van insurance premiums – or to just look at comparing your existing van insurance with over 60 direct insurance firms and brokers – compare van insurance policies using our simple online form to save a packet in minutes.