The International Road Transport Union (IRU), the European Secure Parking Organisation (ESPORG) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) are urging the European Parliament and Council’s negotiators to agree on realistic and firm deadlines for building safe and secure truck parking areas (SSTPAs) on the core and comprehensive network of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
Truck drivers are missing about 100,000 parking spaces, which makes many of them sleep in improper and unsafe conditions every day, while doing their job to move the EU economy.
Moreover, very few parking areas are certified as safe and secure and have adequate facilities. This should be seen in the context of the chronic driver shortage that the sector is facing. The commercial road transport sector currently lacks about 500,000 professional drivers.
Consequently, improving working conditions, including with a proper network of SSTPAs, is vital for the retention and attraction of professional truck drivers. In addition to the social aspect, SSTPAs are also ideal locations where electric heavy-duty vehicles can recharge in a secure environment and could thus play an important role in achieving the decarbonisation objectives set out in the European Green Deal and Fit for 55 Package.
The revision of the TEN-T Regulation has clear synergies with the recently adopted Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). AFIR sets the requirement to have at least two publicly accessible electric recharging stations in each SSTPA by the end of 2027, increasing to four by the end of 2030.
However, it will not be possible to adequately roll out such infrastructure without sufficient SSTPAs.
The International Road Transport Unios says it appreciates that the European Parliament’s approach to set SSTPAs on the core network every 100km as of 2030 and on the comprehensive network as of 2040. This anticipated by 10 years the deadlines proposed by the European Commission, in line with the sector’s urgency.
However, the Council’s general approach significantly decreased the European Commission’s legitimate ambition to establish a full network of SSTPAs across the European Union by a vague commitment to make “all possible efforts” for the development of SSTPAs.