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Cuts in excise duty refunds postponed

Budget Law 

However, as of October 1 2020, Euro 3 vehicles or less will be excluded from this support.  Other measures expected for intermodal transport and advertising

Paolo Castiglia

Now it’s official. We are talking about the 2020 Budget Law, which includes a significant number of tax measures in favour of road transport companies, though not all welcomed by trade associations.

But let us look at them one by one. Let's start with one of the most controversial issues, excise duties reimbursements. In fact, in order to promote environmental sustainability, the parameters for access to these reimbursements have been changed, and from the 1st of October 2020, Euro3 vehicles or less will be excluded from this support. In addition, from January 1, 2021 Euro4 vehicles will likewise not qualify for the reimbursements. 

Government actions seem to be oriented in favour of an ecological transition, and this explains the upcoming establishment, at the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, of a commission entrusted with studying and elaborating eco-sustainable proposals and the reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies, drawing up a comprehensive proposal aimed at redefining, by October 31, 2020, the entire system of tax exemptions in the road transport sector to be implemented from 2021.

According to the Government, this initiative also aims to reduce public spending and support innovation and investment in research, technological innovation, development and infrastructures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Environmental protection is the ultimate goal behind another legal initiative: Intermodal transport. Additional resources have been granted for combined maritime-road transport, the so-called "marebonus" and rail-road haulage, called "ferrobonus". These aid measures were instituted by the Stability Law 2016. In particular, for the "marebonus" the authorized expenditure for 2021 is equal to 20 million euro, while for the "ferrobonus" 14 million euro have been allocated for 2020 and 25 million for 2021.

Among other important factors, the Single Circulation Document, for which the Ministry has taken time: the MIT, in fact, with its own decrees will have to define the manner and deadlines for the gradual introduction - to be completed by 31 October 2020 - of the telematic procedures for issuing the Single Circulation Document.

The last useful element to be defined in the area of road haulage and heavy vehicles, involves the authorization for on-vehicles advertising, with a one-off concession fee, from 2021, which aims to bring together in a single form of levy the revenues related to the occupation of public areas and the dissemination of advertising messages. 

As far as transport companies are concerned, the rule simplifies things:  the current rules for advertising on vehicles are confirmed and they are excluded from issues relating to trade marks, company name and address displayed on vehicles used for transport, including for third parties, owned by the company or used for transport on its behalf.

We briefly mentioned, in the opening remarks, the reaction of the trade associations. According to Unatras, who collects almost all of them together, the main measures contained in the 2020 Budget Law 2020 make several provisions in favour of the transport and logistics sector, but only some of them take into account the commitments made by the Government in the meeting held at the Ministry on November 19, 2019 culminating with the Memorandum of Understanding proposed by the Minister of Transport, Paola De Micheli.

"To protect the road haulage companies we represent – said the president of Confartigianato Trasporti, Amedeo Genedani – having averted, at least for now, the dreaded cuts of excise duties reimbursements on Euro 3 vehicles, which was postponed to October, was crucial. We cannot consider ourselves totally satisfied, though, because from the approved measures, the government failed to realize the importance of gradually reshaping these measures, but we do appreciate the fact that what we have been proposing for a long time has finally been understood: the need to accompany the above mentioned environmental transition with a strategy aimed at renewing the national transport fleet through appropriate multi-year incentives for those who scrap the oldest vehicles".

And he asks for other guarantees: "To express a complete judgement, it is now necessary - insists President Genedani - that the sector receives, as soon as possible, comforting answers on new rules on payment times, and a working table with the Mef should be established soon".


Italian Associations on the war path: appeals made to free traffic on the Austrian border

The severe restrictions on the passage of heavy duty vehicles through Austria is causing serious damage to our domestic road haulage industry and to the economy as a whole, which explains recent outcries by Italian hauliers. For Anita these measures are "unacceptable and discriminatory prohibitions", and the assembly gave the mandate to the president, Thomas Baumgartner, to continue to exert pressure on the European Commissioners for Transport, Adina Valean, and for the internal market, Thierry Breton, "in order to obtain a suspension of these measures". 

"70% of Italian exports run through the Alps and most of them cross the Brenner Pass. Italy cannot continue to suffer the protectionist measures of the Tyrol, responsible for preventing the free movements of goods on a route that is vital for the Italian economy, through a variety of traffic bans: bans on night-time transit, bans on Saturdays, a quota system for vehicles bound for Italy from Germany, sectoral bans, Euro class bans, bans on leaving the motorway to refuel in Tyrol", explain Anita.

Confartigianato Trasporti also takes up the battle through President Genedani: "The situation is dramatic for those Italian hauliers who, having to take advantage of the Brenner route to get our goods to the main European markets, must suffer these decisions by Austrian authorities; this country, in fact, is insisting undaunted in its policy aimed at introducing new bans just to penalize our exports, ignoring the invitation that our government has recently addressed to the new EU Transport Commissioner”.

On the same wavelength the vice-president of Confcommercio e Conftrasporto, Paolo Uggè, who explains that: "in defiance of the principles that inspired it, Austrian authorities are not taking into account that a stationary truck with perishable goods pollutes much more than one in motion. On the other hand, they know full well that by closing the doors to the free movement of vehicles, they are violating a principle sanctioned by the EU. We demand a stern response by, on the one hand the Italian government and, on the other, the weight of the 8 countries that in Europe have formed the 'Road Alliance' of road haulage to combat all forms of dumping". 


Confetra: streamline bureaucracy as soon as possible

Few people in the industry know that, as things stand, controls on cargo involve a total of 130 proceedings and seventeen different public administrations. The alarm was recently raised by Confetra, which is calling for a simplification, and illustrated several low cost proposals for measures that could be adopted in a relatively short time to simplify transport and logistics.

"Our sector needs bureaucratic “deforestation”, a modern legislation and, above all, simplification", explained Marco Migliorelli, vice-president of the Confederation delegated to follow the work on simplifications and legislation. Confetra calls for simple rules that "could involve the sector’s operators more than before, obviously within a different framework, more European and modern".

Other areas of interest are railway staging areas for dangerous goods, tracking industrial waste on the road and extending benefits for early retirement to dock workers.

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