15 September 2023

CLECAT policy response on the Weights & Dimensions Directive

CLECAT, the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services, welcomes the Commission proposal to revise the Directive 96/53/EC, setting standards for the maximum authorised weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles used in national and international transport. In a context of structural shortage of drivers and the need to decarbonise freight transport, this timely initiative should help maximise the efficiency or road freight transport sector and incentivise the shift to zero-emission vehicles.

The freight forwarding sector is committed to ambitious European decarbonisation goals and is willing to actively contribute to the substantial reduction of GHG emissions from its transport and logistics operations. However, the discrepancy between the maximum authorised weights in some Member States’ territory and maximum authorised weight for cross-border transport hinders the free movement of goods, leading to inefficiencies, higher emissions and legal uncertainty. It is therefore of utmost importance that the revision of the Directive should clarify these rules and open the door for certain the wider use of high-capacity vehicles.

While certain provisions of the proposal such as allowing cross-border operations of EMS vehicles are particularly appreciated, CLECAT is concerned that some of the provisions would not permit to maximise the efficiency or road freight transport to its fullest, increasing the number of journeys and GHG emissions. This paper provides some suggestions for amendments to the proposal which CLECAT considers crucial to face the current and upcoming challenges of the road transport industry.