12 March 2021

Forwarders and shippers call for the unhindered movement of goods over the Alps

In an open letter to the President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, CLECAT and ESC, representing European freight forwarders, logistics service providers and shippers, have called on the European Commission to seek a proportionate solution for the uninterrupted movement of goods over the Alps, particularly via the heavily restricted Brenner Pass, in order to maintain healthy and sustainable supply chains and prevent the negative economic consequences for European businesses and citizens.

The letter comes in support of the long-standing concerns of shippers and forwarders over an ever-increasing number of driving bans on the heavy-goods vehicles driving through the Tyrol region in Austria. The wide spectrum of measures, introduced by the Tyrolean government, have been extended even further at the beginning of this year with the introduction of the stricter night driving ban, with the removal of exemptions for Euro VI trucks on the A12 Inntal Autobahn, as well as the stricter Euro class driving ban, with the removal of exemptions for Euro V trucks to drive through Tyrol during the day.

“We acknowledge that by introducing various traffic bans for heavy-goods vehicles the Tyrolean government is seeking to address the air quality concerns in the region. However, the impact of these measures for freight transport is that congestion during the day time has increased, leading also to more emissions,” said CLECAT Director-General Nicolette van der Jagt. “When countries are only looking at emissions on their own territory, they simply neglect the cross-border nature of transport and logistics: considering the new restrictions at the Brenner Pass, emissions of certain supply chains may increase because of the need to either seek for longer alternative routes or spend more time in congested traffic during the day,” she explained.

There is some consensus amongst experts in Austria, Germany and Italy that modal shift is the only way to battle congestion and reduce emissions. However, it must be recognised that progress with the finalisation of the railway system and the construction of the Brenner Base Tunel has been extremely slow. Moreover, there is a lack of progress in the upgrading of the access routes in both Germany and Italy.

The associations therefore argue that, as long as alternative transalpine railway solutions and/or electricity and sustainable alternative fuels, as well as the respective charging and refuelling infrastructure, are not widely accessible for heavy-goods vehicles along the Brenner, the continued assurance of road freight transport must be considered. “Simply preventing the most environmentally-friendly trucks of today, without appropriate alternatives in place, puts the free movement of goods from the South Europe to the North of Europe – and vice-versa – at risk,” warned ESC Secretary General Godfried Smit.

For more information:

CLECAT (European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services)
Ms Nicolette van der Jagt
Director General