13 December 2019

CLECAT Reaction to the Provisional Agreement on Mobility Package I

A provisional agreement was reached between the Finnish Presidency and the European Parliament on the social and market access aspects of the 1st Mobility Package, during the third round of trilogues on 12 December.

CLECAT welcomes a breakthrough following two-and-a-half years of negotiations but is equally disappointed that the industry concerns were not taken into account. With respect to the lex specialis on the posting of drivers, CLECAT warns that the complex new rules will create additional administrative burden both for the industry and the enforcement authorities. Moreover, the compliance with the posting rules, as well as the driving and rest times for truck drivers, will be difficult to enforce, given the lengthy timeline for the introduction of the second-generation smart tachograph, which records border-crossing and additional activities such as loading and unloading.

CLECAT also regrets the inclusion of elements that go against the ambitions of the new European Green Deal, in particular the mandatory return of vehicles and the restrictions on cabotage operations. The obligation to return vehicles to the country of establishment every 8 weeks will create inefficiencies in the operational processes of road hauliers and lead to a substantial increase in CO2 emission due to vehicles running at suboptimal or even empty loads. Furthermore, the introduction of a 4-day ‘cooling-off’ period for cabotage will further restrict the opening of the road transport market and lead to considerable efficiency losses and capacity gaps, especially for SMEs.

Regarding the new rules on driving and resting times, CLECAT is concerned with the prohibition on taking the regular weekly rest in the vehicle or in the parking area. This provision will create safety risks for both the driver and the goods at the time when the safe and secure parking areas and rest facilities in the EU are lacking. CLECAT therefore welcomes the mandate for the European Commission to develop uniform EU standards for safe and secure parking areas and stresses the importance of creating more suitable parking areas, according to those standards, alongside the TEN-T Network. CLECAT also wonders how the ban on taking regular weekly rest periods in the vehicle can be implemented in practice, considering a severe lack of overnight accommodation alternatives.

Nevertheless, without conclusions on the 1st Mobility Package, different interpretations of the rules would continue to prevail, leading to further internal market fragmentation and disproportionate national measures that hamper free movement in the single market. While the results of the preliminary agreement are not necessarily satisfactory, its adoption will at least provide planning security for the freight forwarding sector, transport service providers and its customers.