1-0 at halftime. The Commissions report on the internal market for road transport

Date: 14, April 2014
Seen from a Nordic perspective the report can only be seen as a score of 1-0 at halftime in our favour. The position of the Commission and Commissioner, vice-President Kallas has moved far the last couple of years. The main conclusion of todays report is the need for a balanced approach for changing todays rules for among other things cabotage in order to secure that the rules can work an be effective.

The Commission today published its long waited report on the internal market for road transport, including cabotage. The expectations of the report – and the knowledge obtained about the contents of the report – were discussed at a meeting between the Nordic CEOs on Friday April 11.

Present were Liro Lehtonen, CEO SKAL, Rickard Gegö, CEO Sveriges Åkeriföretags, Søren Hyldstrup Larsen, CEO NLA, Erik Østergaard, CEO DTL and Geir A. Mo CEO NLF.

”Seen from a Nordic perspective the report can only be seen as a score of 1-0 at halftime in our favour. The position of the Commission and Commissioner, vice-President Kallas has moved far the last couple of years. The main conclusion of todays report is the need for a balanced approach for changing todays rules for among other things cabotage in order to secure that the rules can work an be effective. The report also recognizes problems such as letter box companies and other illegal activity in connection with establishment of companies. And last but not least the Commission recognises the need for order as concerns the social conditions to ensure fair and equal conditions between road hauliers in the EU”, comments Søren H Larsen, NLA.

The report indicates that the present rules for cabotage must be evaluated to find a better way to regulate the rules for cabotage. Clarity and legal certainty are a precondition for fair and equal competition in the road transport market. Finally the Commission recognizes the importance of making road transport an attractive industry for drivers in order to secure the future of the road transport. There is a need to secure a workforce with the skills that match the attractive places of work.

”Some years ago the Commission was still talking about full liberalisation within a few years. This is no longer on the agenda. The Commission has recognized – as the market has known for long – that the matter is more complicated as such,” adds Søren H Larsen.

”Where we still face a challenge is the more or less documented statements on empty runs and inefficiencies. Reports show that there are no clear conclusions on empty runs, how much there is and how to prevent it. The Commission has a far too orthodox believe in reducing empty runs and that cabotage causes empty runs. This has not been proven. Another challenge is to make the Commission understand, that cheaper transport is not a solution. For the transport industry in the EU, both road and rail, the solution to the challenges is not falling prices of transport. In fact the contrary”, ends Søren H Larsen.

The report is indeed presented at a halftime. With elections for the European Parliament on May 22-25 and a new Commission to be appointed before end 2014.