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EC calls for simpler EU road haulage rules

  • 30 April 2014
  • By Robin Meczes

European Commission (EC) vice-president Siim Kallas has called for further simplification of the EU’s rules on road haulage, after an EC report suggested cabotage restrictions should be completely removed to help the region’s economy and improve the environment.

“The rules are wasteful for European firms, have an effect on all road users and are bad for the environment,” said Kallas when presenting the findings.

The report said removing cabotage restrictions – which limit hauliers to three domestic jobs within a seven-day period after delivering an international load – would help reduce empty running by making it easier for vehicle operators to combine loads and use return trips.

According to the EC, cabotage accounts for just over 1% of road haulage in the EU and 20% of all trucks in the 27 members states run empty – a figure that rises to 50% for those engaged in cabotage.

The report said such a move would also allow for greater fleet optimisation, increasing the overall logistics efficiency of the EU economy and helping to alleviate an anticipated driver shortage as the sector’s ageing driver workforce retires.

Relaxing the restrictions “could contribute to a more economical and resource-efficient road transport sector” , it concluded.

The Road Haulage Association has rejected the findings.  “The cabotage regulations as they are allow substantial repositioning of vehicles and have a minimal effect in terms of increasing empty running of vehicles on international journeys,” said policy director Jack Semple.

At a conference in Paris last week, EU nations were lining up to stress there was no demand for change, said Freight Transport Association EU affairs manager Chris Yarsley.

“No one is looking to have further liberalisation,” said Yarsley. “They want better harmonisation of the conditions of the market as a prerequisite for further market opening – not forcing the market open to make everything else equal.”

The report will be forwarded to the European Parliament and Council for discussion.


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