European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services (CLECAT) responds with mixed feelings to the publication of the long-anticipated proposals of the European Commission targeting the road transport sector.
The Mobility Package of the European Commission has proposed legislation that seeks to strengthen the internal market, support the roll-out of infrastructure for road charging and connectivity and clarify EU rules on posting of workers.
There is clearly added value in better enforcement, simplification and harmonisation of the rules governing the various aspects of road transport but CLECAT had hoped that the European Commission would come out stronger in the defence of a competitive internal road freight market.
CLECAT, representing the voice of freight forwarders and logistics service providers in Europe, has contributed in different ways to the extended discussions and consultations on the road sector. To enable and facilitate enforcement, CLECAT has for a long time proposed to do away with the number of cabotage operations which may be carried out within a 7-day period.
Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT noted: “We see no reason why the number of days should now be limited to a 5-day period. In particular, since the package also proposes that all cabotage operations must be subject to local rules on remuneration, the number of days would become obsolete and companies could just as well seek to establish permanent business arrangements.”
Ms van der Jagt added: “Our members are most negatively affected by the administrative burden of different minimum wage laws across the European Union. From this perspective, a European solution is indeed better than the current patchwork of regulations. But it is disappointing that the European Commission does not recognise the the sector’s highly mobile workforce and transnational character. Applying local labour rules and minimum wages to international transport after only 3 days will burden many SME’s in Europe, and this is not what we expect from a Commission seeking to create a real internal market, having only recently confirmed its intention to stand behind the ambitions of the Commission’s White Paper on Transport seeking to create a real internal market whilst respecting the principle of freedom to provide services, the free movement of goods, and having regard to the principle of proportionality.”
The proposals now need to be addressed in the most constructive way by Member States and the European Parliament as it is essential to have regulation in place which seeks to improve the overall efficiency and quality of road freight services, without adding further bureaucracy associated with regulating a sector.
Yet, CLECAT is pleased to see that the Commission has taken on board initiatives to prioritize Europe’s investment challenges through a European framework for electronic interoperable distance based charging for the use of road infrastructure, on the conditions that the charging is fair, transparent, simple and non-discriminatory.
On a positive concluding note, CLECAT welcomes recognition that mobility is part of European sustainable growth and competitiveness. The Commission has recognised that freight demand, both within and beyond Europe, is set to increase and that the EU has to face these challenges: road transport – freight and passengers – needs to continue to develop mobility in the most sustainable way, with less emissions, as demand continues to grow.