Supply Chain Performance
Supply Chain Performance

Mobility Package: What you need to know, what will change

To safeguard the interests of the drivers and the industry at large, on February 21, a new wave of rules of Mobilty Package 1, on the posting of drivers became applicable…

On March 9, 2022

In 2020, the European road freight market was sized at 324.5 billion euros and forecasts suggest the market to increase even further. To simultaneously serve the capacity, the on-time and service-quality needs of a highly dynamic, fluctuating, evolving network of economic interrelationships across Europe is no easy task. 

For the industry to continue serving the needs of Europe’s economies and their consumers, the European Commission introduced the “Mobility Package”, an initiative to change and extend EU road transport rules. It intends to better balance the objectives of safety, social fairness, sustainability and economy for the European road transport system. 

The first wave of this new regulation mainly focuses on the functioning of the road transport market, the working conditions of drivers and road-charging in the European Union (EU).

International handling

On February 21, a new wave of  rules of Mobilty Package 1, on the posting of drivers became applicable in the 27 EU member states. Key regulations will then come into force, like the new EU cabotage rules, which include a “cooling-off” period and the return of the vehicle, or the posting rules for drivers aiming at improving working conditions.

What are the major highlights of the first phase of EU Mobility Package

To safeguard the interests of the drivers and the transport industry at large, the significant changes of the mobility package look like this:

  • New posting rules for drivers

 Companies doing cross-trade in the future may have to meet the labour law requirements, of each of the visited countries, for each driver, as the driver spends a significant amount of time there. 

  • Cabotage limitations

After a cabotage operation within a country, further cabotage operations will be suspended for four days in the same country. Thus, after an international transport and the complete unloading of its goods, a truck will be able to make 3 cabotage operations within a maximum of 7 days, while respecting the “cooling- off” period of 4 days. During these 4 days, the same truck will then no longer be able to carry out in the country.

  • Shortened intervals for vehicles

This is  an obligation for the vehicle to return to the country in which the company is based, once every 8 weeks, and for the driver once every 4 weeks.

  • New drivers’ rest conditions

The legislation clarifies that regular weekly rests of at least 45 hours must be taken in suitable, gender-friendly accommodation, with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities, and not in the cabin of the vehicle. Exceeding the daily and/or weekly driving times is allowed exclusively to enable the vehicle to reach a suitable stopping place.

  • National wages applicable for driver

This Mobility Package rule determines  the right of the truck drivers to secure the minimum pay of the country they’re  working in, for cabotage.

  • Possible surging transport truck operating costs

With regular returns to bases, there are estimates that this could amount to as much as €11,000 per truck – a 10% increase compared to a normal, business-as-usual year for a carrier. 

These costs may further increase if operators decide to invest in additional vehicles to offset the need for some trucks to return to base. Another concern relates to the environment. The Mobility Package has been repeatedly criticised by environmentalists as not being in line with the European Union’s Green Deal, as requiring trucks to return regularly to bases in their home countries will increase the CO2 emissions. Yet, for drivers’ protection and for countries suffering from excessive cabotage, this new regulation should make it possible to reduce its impact.

A step forward for road transport

In the end, the transport workers should benefit from improved living and working conditions. Transport companies will need to organise their schedule so that drivers in the international freight sector can return home at regular intervals (every three or four weeks, depending on working hours) with the normal compulsory weekly rest which cannot be taken in the truck cabin.

The rules on the posting of drivers should also ensure equal pay and avoid discrepancies between national approaches and ensure fair remuneration for drivers. The effects of the health crisis have further reinforced the need for a better work environment and a fairer competitive framework for road transport companies throughout Europe. 

Lastly, to ensure controls, vehicles will be equipped in the future with connected tachographs, which will record each border crossing. In order to prevent systematic cabotage, a waiting period of four days will be introduced before other cabotage operations can be carried out in the same country with the same vehicle. In addition, to combat the use of so-called “letterbox companies”, road transport companies will have to be able to demonstrate that they have a significant volume of business in the Member State, where they are registered.

On promoting the new models for the operation of long-haul transport routes, the European road transport industry is continuing on a path of supporting the integration and growth of European economies, with the gradual professionalization of the transport and logistics sectors for the benefit of its customers and its drivers.

The outcome of the Mobility Package negotiations on road transport confirms the European choice of an open market and, at the same time, of a Europe, which protects and creates balanced market conditions. 

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