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Road transport


Disparity in work conditions, salary levels and cost of drivers are huge

Paolo Castiglia

Looking at the European transport market share it is rather noteworthy to see that Italy’s share is only 2.5%, a tenth of the share held by Polish Transport companies. This is what came out from a French research carried out by the Comite National Routier, highlighting how vehicles registered in only four countries carry about 50% of the whole international freight volume. We are faced with the first statistic study that shows just how profound the changes in  European haulage are, comparing freight traffic - in terms of tones per kilometer - among the different vehicles registered in different EU countries between 1999 and 2014.

In 1999, the top countries were, in descending order, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy while in 2014 the same positions were held by Poland, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Czech Republic, with Italy dropping down to twelfth place, between Bulgaria and Slovenia. Focusing on the period between 2006 and 2014, the country that gained more traffic share in terms of percentage is Bulgaria (+ 164%), followed by Poland (+ 124%) and Lithuania (+ 59%), while the biggest “losers” were Denmark (-67%), Austria (-58%) and Italy (-51%).

In absolute terms, 2014 saw Polish registered vehicles moved more freight (always in tons per kilometer) than anyone else with 154,303 billion tons/km, with a percentage of international transport of 61% (the remaining 39% took place within national borders).

Furthermore, Polish transport vehicles move about a quarter of  the cargo handled  throughout Europe in international regime. Followed by Spain, with 67.610 billion tons/km and a 35% share of international freight; Spanish trucks carry 10.9% of road freight in international regime. German vehicles occupy third place with 47.110 billion tons/km, but a percentage of international haulage of only 15% and a EU transport share of a mere 7.6%.

In fourth place we find trucks from the Netherlands, with 39,632 billion tons / km and a proportion of international freight of 56%, with a Community share of 6.4%. The commercial vehicles of these four countries are currently carrying half of the goods traveling within the EU in international regime. In 2014 Italy dropped to twelfth place with 15.456 billion tons / km, but of these only 13% takes place internationally. Since the international transport market was liberalized back in 1990, the EU has been engaged in producing a rather wide legislative framework, which should have guaranteed standardized working conditions throughout the Union, in an atmosphere of sustainable competition. However, this standardization could not be accomplished as transporters in a number of Member States operate under very different business conditions. The study conducted by the CNR, also highlighted the differences as far as working conditions are concerned, such as salary levels and cost of international drivers in Europe which sees Italy occupy a high place in the rather unflattering rank on drivers' operating costs.

"The different scenarios in social laws among the various Member States produced a flurry of internal anti-dumping regulations - said the president of Anita, Thomas Baumgartner. France, Germany, Austria and Belgium for example, have introduced laws to protect the national labor market" . In Italy, the recent implementation of the Enforcement Directive has allowed our legislators to introduce instruments to improve working conditions of drivers outsourced in Italy and enhance protection for workers engaged in cabotage operations.

"Now, the hope is that the new national legislation will put a stop to unfair practices, failure to comply with Community legislation and limit, at the same time, the excessive use of cabotage - added Baumgartner - thus rebalancing the market share among European operators".

Excluded from the new regulations, international transport companies are awaiting for further clarifications from Brussels "Therefore, it is necessary to find solutions aimed at enhancing the market share in a sector in which Italian companies have lost and continue to lose margins. In this context, the proposed tax relief for international drivers, despite the critical issues in terms of Community laws, can and must be a starting point for the search of effective and suitable solutions to restore some of the competitiveness lost in recent years and enable businesses to restart employing workers in Italy".



Emissions: modern trucks are more eco-friendly than cars

It may seem impossible, for our common feeling, but scientific studies are very clear on the matter: according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, Euro 6 engines currently equipping transport vehicles in Europe produce less Nox than Euro 6 cars. The international monitoring body on transport pollution, has calculated the average emissions of nitrogen oxides from industrial vehicles and buses equipped with Euro 6 engines and compared it to Euro 6 diesel cars, discovering that emissions from the latter are more than twice compared to transport vehicles. According to the ICCT, the difference is due to the technologies used in the reducing Nox from the exhaust gases, clearly more effective on heavy duty vehicles.

The measurements were carried out on twenty-four types of trucks and buses, both in laboratory and on the road with certified instruments by the German KBA. The average NOx emissions was 210 milligrams per kilometer. The same measurements on cars showed an average of 500 milligrams per kilometer. The ICCT also points out that emissions tests on transport vehicles are far more stringent than passenger cars. The former, in fact, from 2013 are obliged to perform the test with the vehicle in motion, while for passenger cars laboratory tests on prototypes have always been considered enough.




Registry of road haulage – Unrae agreement for driver training

Trucking schools soon to be opened: in the Registry’s program to facilitate the training of young people to the long distance transport profession, Unrae will create a number of professional courses. The agreement signed in January 2017 between the Registry of road haulage and transport associations was also signed by association representing foreign (Unrae) and Italian (Anfia) manufacturers.

These two organizations are committed to hold courses in professional Schools and training institutions: "As part of the activities promoted under the Memorandum of Understanding, Unrae undertakes to promote and organize training events and demonstration on technologically advanced vehicles, involving young students from professional schools, contributing to the training program with specialized teaching staff, and educational material", explained Franco Fenoglio, president of Unrae.

"At this particular time, amidst tragic news involving trucks, our thoughts cannot but go to those who, every day, are forced to operate in less than ideal conditions, even where safety is concerned, to ensure to both producers and markets the necessary flow of goods to guarantee their survival and development, emphasizing the importance of training responsible drivers, as demonstrated by the recent dramatic events”, continues Fenoglio, who ends with a appeal: "What we really need, therefore, is to ask the competent authorities to put in place all the necessary instruments to ensure that the road transport sector retains its strategic sector in the economy".

The contribution of vehicle manufacturers will consist in theoretical and practical lessons in schools. During classroom lectures, teachers will explain the main structural features and performance of some of the most advanced industrial vehicles including on-board instruments. The practical side of the courses, will see a few specialists explain how the trucks operates from inside the cabin.


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