22 November 2019

Industry Calls For More Flexibility on Mobility Package I

The ongoing trilogues on the social and market access pillars of the 1st Mobility Package offer the final opportunity to find working solutions and make vital corrections for more flexibility, which is necessary to ensure a well-functioning internal market for road transport without creating additional red tape for the industry nor complex rules for the enforcement authorities.

The undersigned associations represent freight forwarders and express carriers whose customers heavily depend on an effective, seamless and reliable road transport sector. The signatories are therefore calling on the co-legislators to take into account the outstanding concerns of the industry with regards to the provisions outlined below.

1. Rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector

Excluding merely bilateral transport plus a very limited number of loading/unloading activities from the posting rules is far from sufficient to guarantee a well-functioning internal market for road transport. It will increase the administrative burden in the sector – for the industry and the enforcement authorities - with complex and irrational new rules, not supported by any impact assessment, and minimum wages per Member State depending on the truck, goods transported, age of the driver, etc. It will also be more difficult to underpin the sector’s CO2 reduction efforts as it will increase empty runs. 

2. Obligation to return vehicles to the country of establishment

The mandatory return of vehicles to the country of establishment every 4 weeks will create inefficiencies in the operational processes of road haulage companies and lead to a substantial increase in CO2 emission due to vehicles running at suboptimal or even empty loads. The impact of this proposal will impose a disproportionate impact on the peripheral Member States.

3. Cabotage regime and the ‘cooling-off’ period

The restrictions on cabotage and the introduction of a ‘cooling-off’ period will further restrict the opening of the road transport market and lead to considerable efficiency losses and capacity gaps. Such provisions will largely mean the end of cabotage operations in the EU, the purpose of which is to make more efficient use of vehicles and avoid empty runs. Moreover, any reference to a ‘cooling-off’ period should not be accepted as the posting rules will already apply as of day 1.

4. Prohibition on the regular and reduced weekly rest in cabin

Prohibiting the regular and reduced weekly rest in the vehicle will seriously disrupt international road freight transport at a time when the lack of suitable secure parking and rest facilities in the EU is a serious challenge, creating safety risks for both the driver and the goods. The regular and reduced weekly rest in the cabin should therefore be allowed if spent in a safe and secure parking area, subject to the provision of a sufficient number of secure parking areas in the EU.

Ultimately, the undersigned associations urge the co-legislators to take into account that EU customers and consumers will only benefit from a well-functioning EU road transport market if posting rules are flexible but enforceable, return of the vehicle is not mandatory, less restrictive cabotage rules facilitate the reduction of empty runs, and safe and secure parking areas are created prior to forcing truck drivers outside of the cabin for regular and reduced weekly rests.