European Parliament. Photo: Wikipedia

Road and combined transport at odds over EU legislation

The combined transport sector is up in arms about a proposed adjustment to regulation concerning road haulage in the EU. The proposal could severely impact existing combined Transport services, as it compromises its position towards the road sector, a direct competitor.

The proposal is part of the trialogue deal on Mobility Package 1. A trialogue meeting is a step in the EU legislative process, used if the Council of the European Union do not agree to the amendments proposed by the European Parliament. Combined transport interest group UIRR is now urging the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament not to accept the trialogue deal, having a second reading of the proposal.

Equal footing

Leaving the legislative process aside, UIRR explains the implications of the proposal. A new paragraph (paragraph 7) has been added to Article 10 of of regulation 1072/2009. This would allow Member States to unilaterally suspend the application of Article 4 of Directive 92/106/EEC, a “mainstay of cross-border combined transport chains over the 28 years that it has been in existence”.

“Combined transport is instrumental in diverting the cargo presently carried in long-distance trucks to ecologically much more sustainable, low carbon-footprint transport solutions, such as electric railways or waterborne vessels. This positions combined transport as a direct competitor of long-distance trucks in the freight haulage marketplace. The competition of the two should take place on an equal footing”, says the lobby group.

Alternatives

With the suspension of Article 4, Member States could require compliance of road legs of international combined transport chains with cabotage rules, to the advantage of cross-border road transport and thus to the disadvantage of combined transport. “The new paragraph added to Article 10, which allows for this suspension, can be replaced with alternative regulatory measures that can equally achieve the underlying policy aim.

“There is no reason for diverting from Article 4 now, especially not without careful examination of the impact of such a measure. Consideration ought to have been made to the climate impact, the environmental externality impact, and the economic impact of such a measure, the UIRR emphasises. The European Parliament votes on the deal on 21 January.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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