The Government has been informed that the drivers of Gibraltar registered commercial vehicles operating in Spain have been given notice that they will need a permit, or an employment contract in Spain, to continue doing so after 1 March 2022. This has come about as a consequence of Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union and the end of the transition period.
In line with the policy of reciprocity, which is the accepted standard in international relations, the Government will also require European Union hauliers, including Spanish operators, to equally require a permit in order to operate in Gibraltar. An information leaflet will be distributed to all commercial vehicles coming in through the border which will spell out, in different languages, the reason for the change in approach and the steps that they need to take in order to regularise their position. A short period of adjustment will be permitted in order to enable EU hauliers to comply with the arrangements.
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 inside Gibraltar.
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 (not EU) international conventions. These have been held up in the Council of Europe even though the issue could have been resolved in an instant through such extensions.
The Government has been in contact with Gibraltar’s operators and business organisations since our departure from the European Union, in the run-up to the end of the transition period, in order to appraise them of the situation. There are 13 road haulage companies in Gibraltar with 319 employees of whom 230 are EU or Spanish citizens.
This is clearly not in the interests of anyone and the matter has been taken up with the relevant authorities in the UK and Spain.