How the new Mobility Package will affect the transport sector

Last week the European Parliament officially approved the Mobility Package by an absolute majority, introducing a set of modifications that will drastically change the transport of goods by road. After more than three years of intense negotiations, amendments and procedures, the Mobility Package is now a reality. The European Parliament approved on June 9th a set of measures that are intended to improve the working conditions of truck drivers while at the same time harmonizing the transport rules in the European Union. The goal of this logistics reform is to have more uniform and effective control of transportation.

How the EU Mobility Package will be rolled out

It should be noted that these rules will not enter into force immediately. Instead, we will have to wait until the end of a transition period set for each of them. The three basic pillars of the changes are the Directive on the posting of workers, the Regulation on access to the transport market, and the Regulation on driving and rest times.

Mobility Package Pillar I: Posting of Workers Directive

This directive involves setting a minimum wage for truck drivers engaged in international or cabotage transport. To this end, drivers will be required to receive at least the minimum wage fixed in the country in which they carry out the transport service. This does not include bilateral international transport operations, i.e. transport operations in which the country of origin or destination is where the vehicle is registered, or transport in transit.

All road transport companies must prove that they have actual activity in the Member State in which they are registered. This measure is intended to exercise greater control over so-called “letterbox companies” in the transport sector. It will require, among other things, that trucks return to the country of registration every eight weeks and drivers return every three or four weeks, preventing them from continuing, as in the past, to operate constantly outside their country of origin.

Entry into force: March 2022

Mobility Package Pillar II: Transport Market Access Regulation

The existing limits for cabotage (three operations in seven days) will be maintained, but a four-day cooling-off period will be required before more cabotage operations can be carried out within the same country with the same vehicle. Vehicles with a maximum authorised mass between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes doing international transport will be required to carry a tachograph.

Entry into force: March 2022, tachographs in June 2022

Mobility Package Pillar III: Regulation on driving and rest times

Finally, the Mobility Package will also relax the rules for weekly rest periods for truck drivers. An urgent need for rest areas is highlighted in many European countries, such as Italy, Portugal, France and more. These new rules will allow for two consecutive reduced periods (of at least 24 hours), provided that at least four weekly rest periods, two of which are normal, are taken in the following four weeks (i.e. at least 45 hours). The ban on the compulsory rest period in the truck cabin at the end of the week, however, will continue to apply.

Regarding coach tourism, the official announcement from the EU states that “Coach tourism differs from other transport activity in terms of driving patterns. Coach drivers follow a “tourism pace,” meaning there are more breaks for passengers, more stops along the way, and a combination of longer trips (at the beginning and end of tours) and shorter trips (during tours).” Meaning that drivers in this sector will have more flexibility especially during high tourist periods.

Entry into force: September 2020

How you can use the Mobility Package to your advantage

All these measures, designed to improve the working conditions of truck drivers, make the work of the freight exchange platforms even more important. Particularly if there are opportunities to locate offers throughout the European market, as with the Alpega Group and its three freight exchanges (123cargo, Teleroute and Wtransnet), allowing companies and transporters to find loads in almost any country they are in and helping them return home with a full load.

Should you need more information about the new Mobility Package, be sure to check the official announcement from the European Commission.