The publication of a package of legislative proposals on road transport by the European Commission has been received cautiously by Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI).
Some of the European Commission proposals will cut red tape for international freight operators by reducing bureaucratic requirements related to posting of workers rules and clarifying that double manning of vehicles is allowed. However, the package also contains more worrying elements that will restrict the operational flexibility of operators, such as a ban on regular weekly rest in the vehicle and an attempt at adding another layer of regulation to the van sector.
“We recognise the difficulty for the European Commission to meet very different expectations from member states and stakeholders across Europe. We welcome proposals to reduce the ever-increasing administrative burden that our international members have been facing when operating abroad, as a result of the so-called ‘minimum wage rules’, such as the need to have a permanent representative in various countries or to keep copies of payslips in various languages in the vehicle” said Aidan Flynn, General Manager at FTAI “This patchwork of national requirements has put the integrity of the single market at risk, and created unnecessary costs and red tape for Irish operators, and we can only welcome the European Commission’s attempt at bringing much needed simplification. We would have liked to see higher thresholds under which companies would not be forced to implement these rules, but the Commission’s proposal is a significant step in the right direction”.
“We also welcome the Commission’s efforts to bring greater inter-operability to road charging tools: our members need greater inter-operability, to remove the need for multiple boxes in the cab. The clarification on double manning is also helpful. However, we have serious concerns with other aspects of the package, such as the move to ban drivers from taking their weekly rest in the cab or the unnecessary imposition of bureaucratic rules for vans. Enforcement authorities have limited resources, which should be focused on maintaining road safety and ensuring that operators which do not properly maintain their vehicles or operate overloaded vehicles are penalised. The van sector needs to become more professional, but voluntary schemes such as Van Safe are the solution to increase standards in the industry, rather than cumbersome rules that will divert enforcement staff away from essential road safety tasks. Likewise, preventing weekly rest in the cab might sound like an appealing idea but will make operators’ and drivers’ lives much more difficult, due to the lack of appropriate accommodations for drivers.”
“There are many points to be considered as part of these important legislative proposals. We will examine all proposals closely with our members during the coming weeks to review the full impact of these proposals and remain committed to working with all European institutions involved and others in the industry throughout the approval process to ensure that pragmatic and enforceable rules get adopted.”