The EU Commission has proposed a new set of rules for road transport. They concern road charging, market access and social conditions applicable to drivers. DHL Freight is regularly keeping with these important topics. The transport sector is one of the most important industries of the EU. Roughly 11 million people, which corresponds to approximately five percent of the working population, work in the sector. The industry contributes a good five per cent to the gross domestic product of the EU. More than half of the cargo volume is handled on the road, which corresponds to roughly 75 percent of all land transport.
Interoperable toll systems
Europe currently has both distance-based as well as time-based toll systems. The Commission proposes that road usage charges should be based on distance In addition, if Member States want to introduce charges for congestion, chargeable vehicles should include cars and revenues should be channeled back to the transport sector. Finally, the Commission aims to bring an end to the incompatible and diverging collection systems by requiring the interoperability by digital equipment that is functional across the EU.
More internal market
The Commission proposes to simplify the current restrictions on cabotage (the ability of a non-domestic service provider to move domestic loads after an international delivery in that country). So far, the restriction was based on 3 movements within 7 days. It is proposed to have an unlimited number of operations within 5 days which is easier to enforce. Cabotage allows for a better utilization of trucks, prevents empty runs and is good for the environment.
New social rules
The Commission proposes that national social rules regarding minimum wage and number of holidays apply to international transport operations as from 3 days per calendar month. Importantly, a posting “declaration” will need to be submitted to authorities for every road operation carried out abroad. Whereas DHL Freight fully supports fair competition, the proposals do not take into account the nature of international transport, will curtail international transport operations and increase administrative burden. The Commission also proposes that drivers cannot spend their weekend rest in the cabin of their truck but need to return home or to spend the rest adequate accommodation. However, this will not solve the issue of lack of adequate accommodation and cargo being vulnerable to theft at unsecure parking areas. Therefore, it is important to increase the number of secured parking areas with adequate facilities for drivers.
Work towards harmonization and simplification
“As an international company, we welcome the Commission’s intention to harmonize diverging national regulations, however, the main focus should remain on the completion of the internal market and the simplification of rules that do not lead to the introduction of more administrative burdens on the sector”, stated Steve Hanley Cook, Vice-President NTBO Solutions and Business Development, DHL Freight. “Pragmatic solutions need to be found and DHL Freight will be working together with our Deutsche Post DHL Corporate Representation in Brussels to develop workable solutions that will minimize administrative burdens and promote a competitive and liberalized market to the benefit of all.”