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Road transport


Unsatisfied Traders Associations: unfulfilled agreements 

Paolo Castiglia

The beginning of summer, as it happens too often, carries an atmosphere of tension between the government and road transport associations. A general mobilization seems inevitable as the last meeting between sector Associations and the Government did not produce the desired effects. Spending cuts appear to be the main issue, in particular flat-rate deductions and tax relief for companies operating mainly on international routes. The government's proposals were: 51 Euro flat rate deductions against the 56 previously agreed.

As for the expected labor tax relief, the regulation, as it stands, does not comply with current EU standards and will have to be amended. Confartigianato remarked how the agreements signed last November with the Government included  a 56 Euro per day tax relief. "Any proposal that deviates from that agreement  - declares Confartigianato – will see us strongly disappointed. We consider a serious shortcoming for the sector the fact that the government, for the second consecutive year, fails to meet its own proposals". No easing of tensions, then, between the associations and the Government.

In addition FIAP also released a short note highlighting that the meeting between the Government and road transport associations ended without tangible facts: "As widely expected it was the umpteenth chitchat meeting which produced no real results” claims the association. In particular, FIAP criticizes the lack of definitive answers on some of the thorniest issue, that is, the amount of undocumented expenses for last year's activities. A topical issue indeed, since these deductions must be included in  SME’s income tax returns.  "Given the situation, in the absence of new initiatives, the only alternative is to confirm the programmed national transport strike indicating days and manner of the initiative", concludes FIAP’s statement.

Cna-Fita, (National Union of Transport Enterprises) for its part says that if the Government has proposed 51 euro per day tax relief against the 56 previously mentioned, this represents the amount expendable against the total amount allocated of 70 million euro. CNA reported that, differently from what happened last year, it is now possible to estimate the spending figures related to the flat tax deductions because they are explicitly recorded on the tax return forms. Therefore, 70 million euro allocated will result in a 51 Euro daily deduction.

On the other hand, the Government remains firm in its position: "We have made resources available for the road transport sector. We are fulfilling our commitments, reducing costs, as well as strongly supporting the whole sector - explained the Under-secretary Simona Vicari.  Following the Administration’s intense  commitment as well as the open and frank dialogue with the Ministry of Economy and Finance - she said - the measures made available by the Minister consolidate and re-launch the process aimed at facilitating the use of the resources allocated to the road transport sector.



Here comes the second generation of digital tachographs

Connecting to a satellite tracking system, such as Galileo, or to a remote diagnostic system, and managing a digital interface with Intelligent Transport Systems. These are the main characteristics of the new “smart” tachographs, adopted by the European Commission through a new Regulation. After deciding the characteristics of these new digital tachographs, which will be compulsory on commercial vehicles registered from 2019, the European Commission has drawn up and published in the Official Journal the executive regulation, which defines the technical requirements of this device. A 500 pages text setting out the rules for the production, testing, installation, operation and maintenance of digital tachographs and their components.

"Smart" tachographs will also enable downloading and remote checking, via wireless data transmission to control authorities, for easier detection of misuse or manipulation making it easier to check information also on the total mass of the vehicle as well as gross axle weight rating quickly and with a reduced number of electronic devices in the vehicle cab. This remote control, though, cannot be used close to the motorway exits, as it makes use of the same frequency band (5795-5805 MHz) of electronic toll systems.

The data to be transmitted are: the last attempt of a security breach, the longest power supply interruption, sensor failure, motion data error, conflicting data on the movement of the vehicle, driving without a valid personal card, card insertion, data on time adjustment, calibration data including the dates of the last two stored calibration records, registration number of the vehicle and the speed recorded by the tachograph. The IP address of the tachograph will allow the geolocation of the vehicle through the Galileo and EGNOS systems, as well as through other satellite tracking systems.

The tachograph will register the vehicle’s position (along with the motion sensor) at the start and end of each working period as well as uninterrupted driving time for three-hour multiples. An important chapter deals with tampering attempts, quite easy with a traditional device (all you need is a magnet). Therefore, next to the motion sensor – entrusted with recording speed and distance – we find a satellite receiver allowing the tachograph to perform a comparison between the two pieces of information, to verify whether they are consistent with each other. In addition, the Regulation provides for the equipment to be replaced after fifteen years from the validity date of the security certificate.



Truck thefts: an alarming phenomenon

"Truck thefts, not to mention the goods they carry, is a particularly alarming global phenomenon, which can be fought, if not prevented, only through the cooperation of all the police forces in the EU and a greater use of the latest technology by all the companies involved. We are not just talking about thefts performed on stationary vehicles, but also acrobatic hijackings on moving trucks, not to mention fake cops and armed assaults, ending at times with the seizure of the drivers. According to Viasat, violent crimes have increased by 48%".

In 2015, the number of stolen heavy duty transport vehicles was 2,275; and the volume of stolen goods soared dramatically. The highest number of thefts was recorded in regions such as Sicily with 358 thefts, followed by Lombardia with 309 and Campania with 279 reported thefts, followed, in this rather unflattering rank, by Puglia with 258 thefts and Lazio with just over 245. 50% of the stolen vehicles are fortunately recovered and the percentage rises if we consider vehicles protected from a satellite systems. Statistics, however, show a negative trend; in fact in 2014 heavy vehicles stolen had been a little over two thousand. This is what the Dossier Autotrasporto ( road transport file) included in the 11th edition of the Guide to Road Safety, sponsored by the Viasat Group, a satellite security company, clearly shows. Too often, however, stolen vehicles are found without the goods they were carrying. In fact, Tapa - Transported Asset Protection Association, of which the Viasat Group is a member, has recorded a growing number of criminal acts, most of which occurred in Europe, especially against high-value loads, as evidenced by the fact that the average loss per theft amounts to more than 235thousand Euro, compared to 58thousand Euro recorded in 2008.  The ten largest thefts alone were worth 55 million euro! As far as recovering stolen vehicles, in Italy 56% of them are found and returned to their rightful owners, equivalent to 1,269 trucks.


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