European states must work harder to enforce existing road haulage rules, even as the EU works to improve sustainability in the road transport sector, according to a study on road haulage in Europe released Monday by the European Commission.
According to the governing body, the Commission must also clarify the current rules on the books, so member states are properly enforcing the laws. Finally, the social rules governing transport, if properly applied, will be a good tool in attracting new drivers, it said.
The Commission released the report by request from the European Parliament and Council to provide analysis about access to international road haulage. Parliament will now discuss the report and weigh any further action.
"The current rules are wasteful for European companies, impact on all road users and are bad for the environment,” Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission, said in a statement. “We need clear regulations for the industry and at the same time we need good working conditions for the drivers. I hope the next Commission will continue down this road."
One of the ways to improve productivity, according to the Commission, is to remove cabotage restrictions, which would increase utilization for carriers by making it easier for them to combine loads. Carriers would also see improved fleet management, the body said, and would be able to increase efficiency.
Road moves are responsible for 72 percent of all European land transport, generating 300 billion euros ($414.63 billion) each year, according to the commission. But, the commission also said there are current barriers to continued success. In a press release, it detailed a coming driver shortage issue “in the near future” that may be lessened if member states do more to attract drivers.
“Provisions aimed at ensuring good conditions for workers are not always enforced as they should be,” the Commission said in a statement. “Progress must also be made in completing the single market for road transport. Even though international transport is open to haulers from all member states, national markets continue to be partly closed to competition. As national markets account for two-third of all road transport in the EU, this creates inefficiencies: one in four trucks in national transport runs empty, and productivity in the road haulage sector is low.”