AN X-RAY OF ROAD HAULAGE
REGULATION ON ADMISSION TO PROFESSION
In effect since last December, the European regulation reorganizes admission to the profession of road haulage operator. Four criteria to be fulfilled: good repute, professional competence, financial standing and premises
How do you become a truck driver? It took a couple of decrees and a sheaf of circulars to give the new rules for admission to the profession of road haulage operator in accordance with the amendments introduced by the EU Regulation that came into force throughout Europe on 4 December 2011.
Among the main indications from the Ministry for Infrastructures and Transport that complete those in the Directive of 25 November is one that clarifies the key issue of financial standing. These are the main criteria to be fulfilled by operators. Registration – pursuant to article 1, paragraph 4 of EC Regulation and until otherwise decided by the Ministry – is exempt from the restrictions of professional competence and financial standing for firms using vehicles with a total weight of up to 3.5 tons.
The declaration of “Start of business” is presented to the Register of Companies with a receipt on unstamped paper issued by the relevant Roll on presentation to the latter of a copy on unstamped paper of the provisional or definitive registration.
Fulfilment. By 3 June 2012 all firms registered with the Roll – even those that were exempted from providing proof of the conditions because they were authorized before 1978 – must demonstrate that they meet all the criteria for admission to the profession (good repute, professional competence, financial standing and premises). Consequently, it is in the interests of operators to as soon as possible regularize Roll registration at the provincial administration offices by demonstrating both professional and financial suitability. This must be followed by presenting a request to the relevant road transport department (DTT) for authorization to access the profession by demonstrating that they fulfil the requirement for premises so that they can be added to the National Electronic Register.
Financial standing has had to be demonstrated by all firms, both new and established, since 4 December 2011. The amount established by the European Regulation is 9,000 euros for the first vehicle and 5,000 for each additional vehicle. In concert with the Roll of chartered accountants, the Ministry intends to prepare a declaration form to be completed by auditors and based on the firm’s annual accounts. Alternatively, a bank or insurance guaranty can be presented. Until such time as the form is available, the provincial administration offices will assess the declarations presented by authorized auditors.
The provincial administration offices will continue to add firms to the Roll by inserting documented data on the financial standing of the firm and the haulier. The data will be captured by the National Electronic Register. Once registration, or an amendment to registration, has been made with the Roll, the firm must present to the provincial office of the relevant DTT an initial request for authorization on stamped paper compiled in accordance with the form attached to the circular. Once the criteria regarding premises have been issued, vehicle circulation will be subject to the demonstration of these criteria. In the meantime, other vehicles may circulate provided, of course, that the financial requirements are met.
For firms operating with vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons, the Circular clarifies that if the haulier is “outside” the firm, the former must present the contract drawn up in accordance with the regulations as well as self-certification of the relationship with the firm. Self-certification must also indicate any other firms for which the haulier performs the same service and an undertaking to communicate any changes in the situation. The road transport firm is still responsible for indicating the end of the relationship with the haulier within 30 days. On this point, the Ministry is looking onto preparing specific guidelines for the various problems that could arise.
The electronic register for road transport firms
The electronic register will be more comprehensive than the Roll of third-party road transport operators in that it will include a list of passenger transport operators and will be kept by the Data Processing Centre (CED) of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The “national point of contact” functions for connection to similar registers in the other 26 EU countries will be kept by Road Transport General Management. These are the provisions for activating and operating the National Electronic Register (NER) of firms admitted to the profession of road haulage operator given in the Directive of 10 January 2012. The Ministry’s Department of Road Transport (DTT) has therefore implemented EU Regulation 1071/2009 and article 11 of the relevant Decree of 25 November 2011.
The decree also establishes what data are to be inserted in the “firms and hauliers” section of the NER: address of premises, number in Roll of third-party road haulage firms, VAT number and tax ID number. Also necessary are the authorization to carry out the profession, Community licence with certified copies, the name of the legal representative.
Additional requirements are the name of the road hauler and self-certification references, requirements for access to the profession, the loading methods and access to the section which will also have public access. These are followed by the provisions for secure data handling, the rights of the interested party, the use of data for the purposes of statistics and surveys, and the relevant technical-administration instructions.
• Three-monthly reimbursement of diesel fuel tax for truck drivers
The reimbursement of the excise duty on diesel fuel will be three-monthly: this is one of the measures adopted by the liberalization decree approved on 20 January 2012 by the Council of Ministers and refers to faster reimbursement of the fuel tax. As forecast by the Minister for Transport Corrado Passera, the decision to reimburse excise duty on diesel fuel every three months came quickly. Road transport operators can now request reimbursement during the month following each three-month period and set it off against taxes in form F24.
Another important change is the application of minimum safety costs. The road transport associations have announced that the Council also approved the shared text of the decree for the application of fines under article 83 bis.
After specifically requesting that already allocated funds should be made available for road transport firms that have been hit hard by the continuing recession and the general increase in industrial costs, the trade associations welcomed this provision.
• Sicily: agreement against mafia infiltration
A protocol for dealing with issues of legality compels trade associations “to expel those members of associations and statutory bodies who have been convicted or accused of mafia crimes or who are associated, connected with or in any way involved with the same”: Unatras Sicilia, the organization that unites the major road transport trade unions, recently signed the protocol of legality together with the regional councillor for infrastructures and mobility, Pier Carmelo Russo. This document follows the one signed by Conftrasporto, Confcommercio and the Ministry of the Interior on 26 October 2011 and aims to prevent Mafioso infiltration of the road transport world.
“The council” – the protocol says – “believes that in the context of preventing Mafioso infiltration of the road haulage sector, two elements that deserve attention are: operator observance of minimum safety costs; closure of the firm followed shortly afterwards by reopening under a different name by the same subjects”.
On the request of Unatras Sicilia unions, Regione Siciliana undertook “to request contractors that have relationships with the road transport sector and have applied for economic-tax benefits, to prove that they have paid the minimum safety costs with regard to transport firms”.