The government has said that an extension to the number of deliveries overseas lorry drivers can make in the UK is likely to be beneficial to food supply chains, by ensuring lorries coming into the UK are used more efficiently.

According to a government announcement, thousands more HGV deliveries could be made each month in the UK under government plans to help bolster the country’s supply chains by temporarily extending so-called ‘cabotage’ rights.

The proposals mean foreign operators that come into the country laden with goods can pick up and drop off goods an unlimited number of times for two weeks before they return home. Currently hauliers from the EU can only make up to two cabotage trips within seven days.

Subject to a one-week consultation, the temporary measures are planned to come into force towards the end of this year for up to six months. The government hopes that this action will help secure supply chains in the medium term alongside the wider package of measures government has put in place to address the shortage of drivers more broadly.

“The long-term solution must be found in the UK”

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, said: “The long-term answer to the supply chain issues we’re currently experiencing must be developing a high-skill, high-wage economy here in the UK.

“Alongside a raft of other measures to help the road haulage industry, we’ve streamlined the testing process and announced thousands of skills bootcamps to train new drivers. These measures are working – we’ve been seeing up to three times more applications for HGV driving licences than normal as well as a deserved rise in salaries.”

He added: “The temporary changes we’re consulting on to cabotage rules will also make sure foreign hauliers in the UK can use their time effectively and get more goods moving in the supply chain at a time of high demand.”