On Monday the 23rd of May, the European Commission adopted a Contingency Plan for Transport, which aims to strengthen the resilience of the European transport sector in times of crisis. The plan builds on the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges the transport sector has been facing since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
The Plan proposes 10 actions, including an adaptation of the EU legislation in the field of transport for crisis responsiveness. The plan aims to support the transport sector, ensure free movement across borders, exchange information and coordinate transport policies.
NLA believes that common European solutions are crucial when crises arise that challenge the transport industry but warn against derogations from EU legislation.
– A Contingency Plan is a good and necessary tool, not least with the recent pandemic in mind, says the CEO of NLA Torsten Laksafoss Holbek.
– However, the Mobility Package must not be undermined and any deviations have to be carefully analysed against the back-drop of the rights and obligations established for the fair and uniform functioning of the road transport market.
– It is important that we avoid a scenario in which certain countries and companies use the situation to, for example, invoke circumvention of the requirement that the regular weekly rest must be held outside the vehicle under appropriate conditions, as we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also saw countries introducing temporary derogations from the driving and rest time regulations. Here we must simply say that the general situation must then be much closer to pure force majeure than was the case during the pandemic.
The Commission also emphasises the relevance of the principles of “green lanes”, which ensures that land-based freight transport can cross borders in less than 15 minutes. The role of the network of contact points in the national transport authorities must also be strengthened. Both measures proved to be crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
– NLA strongly supports the establishment of green lanes, which we have had good experiences with during the pandemic. It has worked well and has ensured the movement of goods for the benefit of civil society, concludes Torsten Laksafoss Holbek.
Photo: ©Niels Møller Madsen