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Revision of the regulation of drivers training and continuing education
In a public announcement concerning the revision of the regulation of drivers training and continuing education, almost 400 suggestions by individuals and organizations were received. In order to discuss this subject in more detail, the European Commission issued an invitation to stakeholders to a conference in Brussels for March 6th, 2014. The suggestions were divided into 4 categories:
1. Scope of the directive
some participants would like to see the continuing education regulation broadened to include drivers of LGV’s up to 3.5 ton total weight. 10% of all traffic accidents are directly caused by delivery vans. Taking into account all types of traffic accidents, 85% of the fault is due to human error. If continuing education was put into place in this sector, a considerable contribution to lowering accident rates could be achieved. Other participants were of the opinion that this would lead to overregulation.
2. Minimum Age for professional Drivers
in 11 member countries the minimum age for professional drivers is 18. In the remaining countries the age is 21. Transport industry representatives urged that future professional drivers must begin early. The optimal moment would be to begin with an apprenticeship directly after school graduation. Statistics presented showed that young drivers cause more accidents. There seem to be no available statistics showing whether young professional drivers cause more accidents or not.
3. Structure of continuing education
a unanimous agreement was reached that more focus should be placed on the end result during continuing education. What should the driver be better capable of after the continuing education course is completed? The IRU as well as the UICR believe that certain continuing education modules should be adopted. For example, if the EU campaigns for a reduction in CO2 emissions, every driver would be obliged to complete an Eco-Driving class within 5 years. If this in not specified in the regulation, only very few drivers will actually be educated with this goal in mind.
4. Quality assurance and mutual recognition The majority of the participants agree that while there are many excellent classes available, there are also other classes that are substandard. For these classes and training institutes, a national quality control intervention would be necessary. 1 out of 1000 drivers attends a class in another country. The hurdles for the recognition of these classes are great. Some of these classes are not recognized in the driver’s country of residence. Even if it only affects a few drivers, mutual recognition of the classes should be possible without complications.
The commission will consider how best to solve these discussed issues. In the second half of 2014, the committee will present its suggestions. The commission is required to involve at least one social partner in this process.
Ralph Meyer, UICR
“ECOLUTION“ for sustainable growth
For once the carpet rolled out in front of the Autoworld Museum in Brussels wasn’t red, but green. The theme today is sustainable growth in road transportation. Scania, working in conjunction with the European Commision, was the host of the event.
Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Scania Sweden, opens the transportation conference with clear and precise words. Sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand. There is no conflict of interest between profitability and safety, efficiency and environmental sustainability.Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission, goes even one step farther and speaks of a Win-Win situation. A sustainable concept like ECOLUTION will not only bring the environment a gain, but also enterprises. An example was given as to how much a enterprise can save on fuel by using an educated driver. He described the driver as the most important link in the transportation chain.
Ecologically seen, the transportation sector has many challenges ahead. The transportation sector is dependant on oil, which produces CO2. By 2030, private and commercial traffic should see an increase of 60%. The most difficult challenge therefore is to battle growth of emmissions, noise and congestion. In order to acheive this, we must alter products, services and behavior within the transportation chain. In an exposition that takes place parallel to the convention, Scania presents it’s ecolution concept :
The driver plays an essential role in environmentally sound road transport. Ecological driving must be taught, and follow-up courses must be visited on a regular basis.A second factor is the implementation of organic fuels. For Henrik Henriksson of Scania, this is not just a solution for the future, but is real alternative that can already be used right now. As expected, the issue of bio-fuel lead to lively discussions. The arguement is that all too often, the countries producing the bio-fuel ingredients are using the agricultural areas for this purpose instead of growing much needed food. Experts in the panel assure that there is more than enough food grown for all people. According to the UN organisation for Food and Agriculture, more than half of the food grown is lost because it does not get to the consumer in a timely manner. So the real problem is getting the existing food products to the right markets and to make it possible for the people there to buy these products.
The conclusion of the transportation conference is that proven by the more than 300 conference participants that many people are interested in the subject and that there are solutions and thus hope for a Greener Transport World. The UICR has long been a supporter of further education for professional drivers and we can only cheer the ECOLUTION concept from Scania.
From left:: Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Comission ; Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO, Scania; Dr Melinda Crane, Chief political communicator at Deutsche Welle-TV.
Scania Trucks outside of Autoworld, Brussels, Belgium.
Road transport: new tachograph rules will save companies more than €500 million per year
European Commission – Press release
Brussels, 19 July 2011 – The European Commission has proposed to revise the tachograph legislation to make full use of new technological opportunities such as satellite positioning. This will make fraud more difficult and reduce the administrative burden, which is expected to save companies €515 million per year. By ensuring better compliance with rules on driving times and rest periods, drivers will be better protected, road safety increased and fair competition assured.
Six million European trucks and busses are equipped with tachographs in order to enable the control of compliance of professional drivers and transport undertakings with the social road transport legislation. The digital tachograph was made mandatory for new vehicles in 2006. The present proposal aims to update the legal framework which dates back to 1985. The new regulation will help to reduce fraud and cut the administrative burden related to the tachograph’s use.
Vice-President Siim Kallas said: “The rules on driving times and rest periods are there to protect professional drivers and other road users. They also ensure fair competition and good working conditions for drivers. The digital tachograph is an excellent control tool to ensure that these objectives are achieved. This proposal is not only very important to maintain the reliability of the digital tachograph but it also constitutes a significant step towards introducing an intelligent, integrated on-board unit on trucks that will contribute to improving the efficiency of the EU transport system.
The proposal provides for several novelties:
• – Location recording by satellite positioning system will allow replacing manual recording by automated ones. It will save €349 million per year for road transport undertakings and their drivers. It allows for better monitoring and provides important information for organising the logistics chain.
• – Remote communication that increases efficiency of roadside checks that can be targeted on those vehicles which are more likely to be in breach of the legislation. As complying drivers will be stopped less frequently, a reduction of administrative burden by €34.5 million per year can be achieved.
• – Specific interface to allow for an integration into intelligent transport systems, while respecting the applicable legislation on data protection.
• – Higher standards for workshops entrusted to install and calibrate the tachograph will reduce fraud and manipulation.
• – Merging the driving licence with the driver card to be used with the digital tachograph. This will reduce the administrative burden on drivers by €100 million per year. It will also reduce fraudulent use of driver cards, which today are too easily handed over to other drivers.
• – Continuous update of the tachograph specifications in order to ensure that a high level of security is maintained and that opportunities for fraud and manipulation are reduced.
The proposal will also allow Member States to grant exceptions from the obligation to use tachographs for certain users within a uniformly extended radius, as for example craftsmen (reduction of administrative burden of €52.8 million per year). This had been suggested by the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens.
The proposal has been submitted to Parliament and Council who are invited to adopt the proposal. The proposal is accompanied by a Communication from the Commission which explains how security will be maintained over time, how the Commission intends to use standards set by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) for certain parts of the tachograph equipment, and how the Commission intends to cooperate with third countries at the level of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
For more information, please see http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road/social_provisions/tachograph/tachograph_en.htm
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38) Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)
Criticism over EU truckers’ working hours
By Martin Banks – 17th June 2010 / www.theparliament.com
MEPs have backed rules which set new working hour limits for long-distance lorry drivers.
Some 368 deputies voted in favour of a 48-hour a week rule while 301 were against.
Controversially, however, the limits will apply to both salaried and self-employed drivers.
The European commission had sought to exclude independent drivers from the draft working time directive and the decision by MEPs in Strasbourg to include them has been widely condemned.
Irish ALDE member Marian Harkin, her party’s coordinator on the employment committee, predicts it will be “unworkable.”
She argues that bringing self-employed workers under the draft legislation would be “hugely damaging” for small and medium sized entrepreneurs.
It will lead to a heavier administrative burden to comply with legislation which is “virtually impossible to implement”.
“This legislation will have a significant impact on drivers and put them out of business at a time when we are trying to encourage entrepreneurs to start up,” said Harkin.
Further condemnation for placing limits on independent drivers came from the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) which branded it “disastrous.”
ESBA President Tina Sommer said, “It opens the floodgates to legislation that will harm entrepreneurship throughout the EU.”
“By deciding against a commission proposal which aims to exclude independent self-employed drivers in the transport sector from a directive that rigorously restricts working hours, parliament has set a dangerous precedent in interfering in the manner in which self-employed organise their working time,” she said.
“The vote means a serious setback in the much needed promotion of entrepreneurship in the EU. In an economic climate where people are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and whereby the flexibility to organise their own working hours is vital, a decision such as the one made by parliament cannot possibly be justified.”
She added, “What good are any efforts by the EU institutions to enhance the legislatory environment for SMEs if at the same time obstructions are created somewhere else? This unwelcome restriction will undoubtedly result in loss of competitiveness, loss of innovation, and loss of job creation.”
UKIP MEP Derek Clark agreed, saying the decision means that time spent on administrative tasks, including seeking new contracts, will now be included towards the daily limit on driving time.
Clark said, “This is yet more hyper-regulation from Brussels, which will do nothing but increase costs on the self-employed.
“The only people this will increase work for are staff in unemployment benefit offices as self-employed drivers find they can no longer make ends meet.
“Naturally, UKIP voted against this measure. What is appalling is how many British MEPs from other parties supported it at a time when self-employed drivers need all the help they can get.”
Further comment came from commission vice president Siim Kallas, who is responsible for transport, who said, “The commission takes note of the position taken by parliament and will review possible options, including a withdrawal of the proposal.”
“Since the commission legislative proposal was preceded by a broad assessment of the situation, the commission does not see the need to restart extensive studies on the issue.
“Instead, acting as guardian of the treaties, it will do what is necessary to ensure compliance by the member states with the current unchanged directive in force, which also covers self-employed drivers.”
Yes to LCVs… But not at any price!
The controversy fuelled by the discussions between Peterborough M.P., Dean Del Mastro, and David Bradley, President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, has brought to light the problems inherent to the arrival of long combination vehicles (LCVs) on roads in Ontario and the rest of Canada.
The Teamsters Union does not oppose this type of vehicle, provided that they do not jeopardize the health and safety of others using the road.
A study conducted in the U.S. by the Department of Transportation has uncovered several risks, particularly reduced stability, as well as an 11% increase in the number of fatal accidents involving LCVs. These findings clearly underline the importance of a comprehensive risk assessment.
The Teamsters union is of the opinion that car drivers stuck behind a long combination vehicle on a single-lane road can become a danger to themselves and others. How can they pass a truck travelling at a slower than average speed without possibly causing a multi-vehicle pile-up?
According to Robert (Bud) McAulay, Director of Teamsters Canada’s Freight and Tank Haul Division, the question is not so much whether Long Combination Vehicles should be allowed on highways, but rather, exactly where they should ride. “I have 30 years of experience as a trucker,” he underlines, “and I think that GTA is not the best place for long combination vehicles. And let’s not forget that it could trigger road rage with terrible consequences.”
Intermodal transport (rail and truck) could represent an interesting alternative for very high-traffic highways like the Québec-Windsor corridor and GTA. “The trucking industry’s intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is commendable, but the safety of all users of the road must always take precedence,” concludes Mr. McAulay.
European Truck Parking Areas (TPAs)
Results: Relying on sheer luck
Our EuroTesters travelled 30,000 kilometres in search of safe and comfortable TPAs. However, more often than not, they found quite the opposite on their eleven-country European tour. In over a quarter of the 50 facilities, the Security dimension could not be rated because of missing standards. Over a third of them scored one dot. On the other side nine facilities comply with the highest security levels, garnering five dots, and three scored four dots. The rest of them received two to three dots. Concerning the Service of the TPAs tested two facilities achieved the five-dot top rating, six had four dots to show for and about one-half received three dots. Even so, three facilities failed in this dimension scoring zero dots, one scrambled up a single dot, and almost one quarter achieved two dots.
Best in Test
Two TPAs left the international competition far behind, both of them designated “Best in Test” for achieving the maximum number of Security dots and Service dots: Ashford International Truckstop near Dover, in the UK’s south-eastern corner, and Autoparco Brescia Est near Lago di Garda in Italy. The parking spaces on the well-lit rest areas protected by high fences are easy to survey both by cameras and security staff. Entrances and exits are protected by closed gates or boom barriers; staff is present around the clock and there is an emergency call system. There are separate TPA and car parking areas, and the pedestrian area’s design complies with road safety standards. The testers found the sanitary facilities to be clean. In addition to restaurants with diverse menus, there were a number of recreational facilities and HGV-specific installations, e.g. power outlets for refrigerated vehicles, which are a rare feature indeed.
Most common deficiencies
Pedestrians were hardly ever registered upon entering or leaving. Just as rarely were HGV number plates along with the drivers’ names recorded upon entering a TPA or exiting vehicles’ details matched with the data recorded upon entering. All in all, the monitoring of entry and exit was way too lax. Many TPAs lacked continuous fences or other barriers and had no end-to-end CCTV surveillance. All too often, the experts had reason to criticise TPAs for insufficient night-time lighting, which prevents staff from monitoring all activities. There was not a single TPA where hazmat trucks are registered and park separately. Power outlets for refrigerated vehicles or truck wash facilities were too few and far between. Shops selling HGV spare parts, HGV emergency services/workshops or launderettes were also absent, and advance booking systems were found far too rarely as well. Without adequately alert staff, even the best-equipped facilities are no good. It is unbelievable that at only three TPAs the security staff asked the incognito testers what they were doing. The range of examples includes open barriers, ID checks upon entering during daytime testing, but no verification of testers’ ID at night. At one site in UK, the tester exited the facilities without having to produce any kind of document, and at another site in France the tester freely entered the facilities on foot, simply claiming that his access card was not working.
The European TPA test is not just a comparison between European countries, but also between security-minded TPAs and “ordinary” car/HGV rest areas. The ordinary ones in most cases fail to meet exacting security demands. For instance, regular security patrols by operators´ staff or police are minimum requirements for certification. In the Service dimension, these rest areas can never score more than three dots, because to move up to the next level they would have to provide HGV-specific facilities, such as truck washing etc. Reliable information on security and safety is very important for truck drivers and their HGVs. The test shows that results may be widespread, with scores on both sides of the spectrum. This is one of the reasons for which European TPA certification is an absolute necessity, so that drivers know what to expect. Only through certification can comparable standards be created and publicised, so that HGV drivers no longer need to rely on sheer luck.
Billions lost as a result of cargo theft
Highway pirates are getting more audacious
At first, it seemed to be just another routine check. Plain-clothes policemen in an Audi stopped a delivery van from the Netherlands at a rest area on the A40 motorway near Kleve/Germany. Blue lights flashing, a yellow police jacket – the van driver who was on his way from Venlo to Erfurt certainly did not suspect anything illegal. All of a sudden, the two “policemen” drew their guns and soon after left with their loot – €900,000 worth of computer parts.
Spectacular robberies like this have become a daily occurrence on Germany’s highways. Cargo theft has become one of the most lucrative and fastest-spreading types of crime. According to TAPA calculations, the resulting losses across Europe amount to around €8.2 billion each year. The Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) is a global consortium of over 600 industrial enterprises, logistics companies and authorities cooperating in an effort to improve security standards. Many robbers are as creative as they are brutal. Fake policemen or customs officers who stop HGVs and then threaten their drivers at gunpoint are comparatively harmless. “Some robbers even jump aboard from running motorcycles to hijack HGVs,“ explains Frank Huster, managing director of SAFE GmbH. The Schutz- und Aktionsgemeinschaft zur Erhöhung der Sicherheit in der Spedition1 was founded by the Association of German Freight Forwarders and Logistics Operators (DSLV).There are solid reasons for the rapid increase in HGV holdups. The criminals are especially interested in valuable merchandise like mobile phones, flat screens or computer parts. Several million Euros worth of cargo are on the road for days, largely unprotected. HGV drivers usually travel alone. Their vehicles, left unguarded on truck parking areas during the drivers’ mandatory rest periods, are an easy prey for criminals. Many robberies are committed by professionally organised gangs from Eastern Europe. These criminals seek out not just certain types of goods, but also very specific HGVs. “Two thirds of these robberies occur in parking areas under cover of night,” says Björn Kupfer, a transport expert from the German Insurance Association (GDV) in Berlin. To make things worse, continues Kupfer, 70% of all drivers robbed are foreigners. Their poor language skills and unfamiliarity with the area make them particularly easy victims.
Road hauliers have improved some of their security standards, using satellite-based theft protection and enhancing the protection of the HGVs’ cargo compartments. After all, it is vital for them to prevent missed deliveries which may result in contractual fines and ultimately in the loss of customers. First and foremost, Björn Kupfer sees an urgent need to do something about the parking areas. Just like ADAC, the GDV also demands extensive improvements to secured parking areas. “The GDV has already worked out guidelines for necessary standards, such as security fences, crawl-under protection, video surveillance, as well as monitoring of entrances and exits,” adds Björn Kupfer. Meanwhile, the criminals are getting more audacious. A few weeks ago, some crooks tried to steal a legendary, record-breaking Mercedes-Benz C111 sports car from the 1970s – along with the truck that was supposed to transport this extremely valuable exhibit to a motor show in England. Their plan went amiss, yet the car’s body was slightly damaged.
France – no passing policy for trucks on Highway A31.
July 10, 2009, 7 pm: The toll Highway A31 will experience a revolution in the 120 kilometers between Zoufftgen and Gye, south of Toul. The trucks will no longer pass on all portions of the dual carriageway and the speed will be limited to 110 kph on the entire route, except for crossings of Thionville, Metz and Nancy, where the limit will be 90 kph and 80kph for trucks. These measures are part of the Environment policy. The objective is to improve user comfort and the flow of traffic through harmonization of speed on this part of the highway. The operation is the first of its kind over such a long-distance. It requires significant resources: 1,000 road signs installed, moved or modified, stationary radars adapted, a large communication campagne will be launched in the direction of drivers, starting with the road professionals. It will cost 1 million euros to the French state and a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 7% is expected.
Italy: Stricter penalties for driving under the influence (September 15, 2008)
Italy plans to drastically increase the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the ADAC, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 1.5 per thousand will result in seizure and confiscation of the vehicle and heavy fines up to 6000 euros and prison. The Italian Parliament must still give it’s consent to the May 27, 2008 regulation. With a BAC from 0.5 to 0.8 per thousand traffic offenders pay up to 2000 euro penalty. From 0.8 per thousand, to a maximum fine of 3200 euros or, where appropriate, up to 6 months imprisonment.
The sentences will mostly mean probation for first-time offenders. With an amount of more than 1.5 per thousand BAC the motor vehicle will be seized immediately. The court order expropriation is valid if the drunk driver is the registered owner of the car. In the event of a police check, the driver should under no circumstances refuse an alcohol test. The authorities may assume a BAC of more than 1.5 per thousand and issue correspondingly high penalties. Source: Fernfahrer
Germany: More Truck parking (September 08, 2008)
September 8, 2008, No. 248/2008 German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee is taking immediate measures to create additional truck parking on German motorways. Tiefensee is acting upon results from a nationwide survey taken by the Federal Ministry of Transport concerning the parking situation. There are currently about 14,000 truck parking spaces lacking. Tiefensee said in Berlin today: “I speak often with truck drivers and am aware of their needs, a parking area where their rest periods can be carried out. We will – with the support of other countries as well as Germany-begin immediately, making use of existing available spaces to use as rest areas for truck parking. The study shows that we must exploit existing capacity more efficiently. We would achieve a significant relief to the highways. Of course we will also create new parking plan and implement procedures.
The German Federal Ministry of Transport is speeding up the current expansion programme to improve the parking areas of the motorway together with their respective countries. There is a planned budget of 260 million Euros to be used in implementation of these parking areas by 2015. The Federal Government welcomes the fact that some countries are already acting for faster implementation of new and expansion projects of facilities. The first pilot projects for better utilisation of existing parking spaces are already underway. “With innovative ideas and modern technology, we will be efficiently managing our parking spaces in the coming years,” said Mr Tiefensee. “With electronic connections to truck drivers at an early stage, they can find out whether parking spaces are available at the next rest area. These can include traffic jam info on the radio to which information on the truck parking situation may be added. This will serve the safety of truck drivers and other road users on our highways.
Europe: Warning – Transportation War (May 23, 2008)
European transport sector associations urge the EU to take action against the planned sectoral driving ban in Tyrol.
The German Association for road transport logistics and Disposal (BGL) and road transport associations from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Denmark and the Netherlands and the International Road Transport Union (IRU), urged EU Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen to act against the planned sectoral driving ban in Tyrol. The BGL warns in a statement about a threatened transit war. The Austrian Ministry of Transport already announced a “stage one success,” The BGL reports that the European Commission, contrary to the expectations of the professional world, will not take up the matter before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the planned sectoral driving ban on the Inntal Motorway. The ban of transport of certain goods will gradually be introduced on May 2this year and January 1 the following year. This affects largely waste shipments from next year on, and includes automotive and transportation tiles. According to Tyrolean information this should annually displace 200,000 trucks to either rail or alternative routes. In a letter to the relevant EU Industry Commissioner Verheugen, affected road transport associations from Italy and Germany, the Netherlands, France and Denmark, but also from the Alpine transit countries Austria and Switzerland and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) claim that a more realistic number of up to 300,000 trucks would need to be displaced, for which there is virtually no possible rail solution. Detour via alternative alpine routes would be the result, criticized the BGL. A transport for example from Munich to Verona would widely lead “going around Tyrol,” either through the Tauern Motorway (Salzburg – Villach – Udine) or Switzerland (Bregenz – Lugano – Milan). The truck would then have to drive much longer distances. Detours from 200 to 240 kilometers would be unavoidable. This would still be 50% more the regular distance.
This leads to longer trips and higher fuel consumption. “The associations have calculated that this detour wastes up to 22 million liters of diesel fuel and adds up to 60 million kilograms of carbon dioxide (C02) per year. Because the trucks would be on the road on average about three and a half hours longer, pollutant emissions of 1,432 tons of nitrogen oxides, 703,000 kilograms of carbon monoxide, 213,000 kilograms of hydrocarbons and 27,000 kilograms of soot would be added,” says the BGL. Alleged truck displacement for the sake of the environment is not supported by the driving bans. This project would increase the overall environmental burden by way of unnecessary detour traffic. In the opinion of the European transport associations, this Tyrolean “St. Florian’s principle” is not a viable alternative for sustainable transport concepts in the Alps. The beginning of a “transit War” would not only be to the detriment of transport companies, but would also affect the promising future economy, said the BGL.
Switzerland: To expensive and cumbersome (May 23, 2008)
Swiss freight forwarders criticized fuel surcharges and infrastructure deficiencies in the management and the onward transport of imports from the seaports
The magic words for additional revenue is Fuel Surcharge. Whether in the air or sea freight, the surcharges are breathtaking. They are three to four times normal freight rates. On the question of how these premiums come, carriers hedge about what are contradictions in terms of whether euro / dollar exchange rate or where at what cost how much was tanked / bunked. This is how many freight forwarding and transport companies in the neighbouring country of Switzerland see the matter. These and a number of other grievances were addressed by Peter Rasi, president of the 70 member companies belonging Zurich Freight Forwarders Association (ZSV), during their General Assembly meeting in April of this year in the Swiss city of Glattbrugg. While the pure freight rates sank continuously and remained at a low level the fuel surcharges were consistently high, he criticized. Rasi then took the shortcomings of surface-import traffic from the ports into sight. Delays and breakdowns are unending. Most began with late arriving vessels. Rasi: “Then the process begins in the port with customs transit messages, scanning documents and interface problems between the transport organizations involved.” This delay creates problems for truck drivers between port and rail terminal and attempted delivery of their container to a train that has already left. Unfortunately the next train seems to be booked already as well. “But finally with the loaded container on the train, the freight is a long way from delivered. The train remains on the track. Reason: It has missed it’s scheduled window of time or there is no locomotive available, “said Rasi.
Overloaded structures and lack of resources are everyday phenomena. It appears that “enormous investment flowed into the prestigious transportation of people” but was lacking in the area of cargo transportation. In addition, staff reductions and shift changes lead to vulnerability during peak periods. The situation at the terminals in Switzerland was very unsatisfactory. But the overdue construction of modern facilities can continue to wait. The terminals between Basel and Zurich no longer fulfill the current requirements, complained Rasi. The facts are that the new Alpine rail transversals (Neat) and other major changes, locomotives or personnel cannot replace taking necessary measures in container traffic.
Europe: New access to the transportation market (May 15, 2008)
The EU transport ministers have accepted a proposal by the current EU Presidency (Slovenia) for the professional transport license that regulates access to the transportation market.
At the EU Transport Ministers Council meeting in April in Luxembourg, the majority voted for a new market and professional entrance for transportation companies. This was a “good foundation” for an agreement at the June meeting, said Slovenia’s Minister of Transport Radovan Zerjav. Most colleagues agreed to his proposal, which extends the intended validity of the EU market access license from 5 to up to ten years’. The revised regulations will apply to lorries over 3.5 tonnes and to buses with more than eight passenger seats. There were differences of opinion on the appointment of a “traffic manager” who would be daily taking care of core responsibilities of freight advancement. The ministers supported limiting cabotage to three operations within a seven-day period following entry into the host country with a load.
Report by 2010
EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot accepted the claim that a 2012 report presented by the EU Commission on the social and economic situation in trade will decide on the liberalization of cabotage. He sees no problems for additional transit services from domestic companies in EU countries who perform cabotage on a return trip through. Thus he responded to the request of several countries. All countries must have implemented the required use of a licensed electronic register to collect their data no later than 18 months after the cutoff date. Said devices are required to be networked by the end of 2012. From 2015 serious offences will also be recorded such as serious disregard for the driving and rest periods, manipulation of the tachograph speed governors, falsification of driving cards, massive vehicle defects, exceeding the total allowable truck weight by more than 20 percent, and the transport of dangerous goods without a license. The majority of the Council wants to “wave prerequisite education prior to the exam for traffic manager.” Persons with at least 15 uninterrupted active years of prior experience in the transport sector are to be freed from the examination. Germany called for an even shorter time span. Belgium refused the offer of the presidency since the cabotage regulations are inflexible and the data bank a concern for privacy.
Europe: Resolve driver shortage issue (May 15, 2008)
The „Treffpunkt Transport” from June 5-7 in Mainz-information concerning the current problems transportation companies face.
Poor working conditions and restricted truck drivers training in the Federal Armed Forces have spawned driver shortage. In other areas experienced and reliable shipping merchants are reduced in number as well – recruitment by other industries is a reason for this. This shows the recently released special report from the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG). What measures you can take today to get the best people and to keep them.
Information on methods for internal motivation and driver training can be learned at the “Treffpunkt Transport” – The information and communication forum for transporters and shippers,” held from June 5-7, 2008 at the Mainz Rheingoldhalle. The goal of the event is to bring together transport operators and freight forwarders with their potential customers in industry and trade. The lectures, workshops and discussion forums will emphasize “Transport Market in Transition”, “Safety in the transport chain”, “Cost and financing” and “Management and new technologies”. In addition to information during the three-day forum “Treffpunkt transport”, communication will be the main focus. The participants can exchange and discuss the problems and requirements of the contracting authority.
Europe: Diesel taxation (April 21, 2008)
The attempt to harmonise the taxation of commercial diesel will fail. The possibility of a flat tax is not in sight.
The European Parliament (EP) will require from January 1,2015, a new minimum tax of 359 euros for commercial use per 1,000 liters of diesel. With this measure, the EP plenary wishes to change the commission in which 380 euros are forseen from 1 January 1, 2014. The current minumum limit is 302 euros. Commercial diesel is defined by the energy tax directive 2003/96 as diesel used in trucks from 7.5 tons and buses with more than eight passenger seats used. With its decision at the March meeting the parliament followed the justification of the Commission for the reduction in national tax differences to reduce the cross-border fuel tourism with detours to the cheapest fuel stations. However, the objective of the draft directive only suggests a compensatory increase in the permitted minimum of 302 euros of the open tax scale.
Lack of Fiscal Harmony
This is not about a harmonisation of fiscal taxation rates, as the commission itself strives for in it’s September 12, 2001 ‘Verkehrsweissbuch’. The plan failed because the directive project for a flat tax was toppled by Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. Today Brussels bemoans the lack fiscal harmony, which is an increasingly difficult obstacle to the functionality of the EU transportation market, and has proposed the following half-hearted compromise. This time, there is no danger that it will fail in the EU legislation. Uniform gasoline tax and tax-reduced commercial diesel has remained an unfulfilled request until this day in vain by the International Road Transport Union (IRU).
Switzerland: LSVA no longer functioning (April 21, 2008)
The increase in freight traffic last year was mainly road traffic. Switzerland will react to this development with further cash injections for the railway and Alpine transit stock.
Booming trans-alpine freight transportation has Swiss authorities concerned. The cyclical high in the European source and destination areas in 2007 greatly increased trade flow. The growth was practically exclusively on the road; the rail network stagnated. According to the Federal Department for Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (Uvek), without the accompanying storage measures, there would be an additional half a million trucks on the road in Switzerland. It’s conclusion: The greater redeployment of modal split in favor of the railway would require “further efforts, such as the introduction of an alpine transit stock market.”
In mid-March, according to statistics published in 2007, a total of 39.5 million net tons, 3.5 percent more than the year before, was transported through the Swiss Alps. Of this total, 64 percent was on the railway. While road traffic increased in 2006 by ten percent, railway traffic decreased by two percentThere were 1,263 truck passages recorded in the four Swiss alpine passes last year-seven percent more than in 2006. The second level LSVA with related price and productivity effect for development no longer seemed to be relevant. It will overlap with the strong cyclical growth explains the Uvek. Also mentioned was that for any foreign vehicles travelling through the Swiss Confederation travels for ten to twelve euros cheaper, depending on the exchange rate shift between Swiss francs and euros.
It is interpreted as an alarming sign that in the first half of 2007 that the railway freight increased by 3.3 percent then dropped so significantly that the entire the year was considered poor year for railway freight. However, the rail freight had not reached its full potential, per the Uvek. This was mainly due to the strike that took place for many days in Germany and Italy. They experienced many buglaries in the last two months of 2007 which caused massive loss of tonnage transported.
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