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14/05/2019
Italy says no to goods and trucks being held at alpine borders

Road transport 

 

The recent measures adopted by Austria, France and Switzerland on the passage of hauliers are rather restrictive and punitive for our country

Paolo Castiglia

Italian goods and trucks held at alpine borders? The measures adopted by Austria, France and Switzerland against trucks and freight along the Alpine mountain range must be considered too restrictive for the Italian road haulage system, both for the national economy and transport companies. Hence the request made to the Minister of Transport Toninelli to call for an intervention, at EU level, on those countries that are implementing such measures which, according to our trade associations, were imposed under "the pretext of wanting to preserve the environment, which should be instead safeguarded through incentive policies designed to encourage the use of more modern end eco-friendly vehicles”.

Still on this issue, following the announcement, by the Austrian Tirol region, of restrictions to the number of heavy industrial vehicles allowed through the Brenner corridor also in the second half of this year, Conftrasporto circulated a note calling for government intervention to "demand the end of such restrictions at the border with Germany, a measure that has, as its sole purpose, to penalize Italian hauliers. In February, the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, sent a letter to the Austrian Government to criticise this measure, but it was obviously ignored by Vienna.

"Austria, on the other hand, carries on undaunted, and has decided to extend the above mentioned restrictions also in the second semester of this year, with the number of days interested by this measure rising to 32, against the 27 in 2018 – explains Confetra -. This is no longer acceptable, given that we still remember the images of last year when, at the border with Germany, a twenty kilometres queue of heavy vehicles formed, all waiting for their turn to get back to Italy, so much for the fight against pollution so dear to the Austrian government". 

However, border crossing is by no means the only heated debate in the sector, several other issues, in fact, are the subject of attention by both hauliers and government representatives: for example, as far as infrastructure and road safety, there is an urgent need to find adequate solutions to the age-old issue of exceptional transport vehicles which, despite current regulations and a soft interpretation of the law, are still moving with multiple loads of 108 tons, rather than with a single and indivisible load. The result is a staggering increase in the number of exceptional vehicles, and loads, driving over our bridges and flyovers, with the risks and consequences that unfortunately we know all too well.

The sector is calling for action to be taken on the Highway Code by means of tailor-made decrees aimed at returning exceptional transport to its original characteristics. Furthermore, on-going talks involve the transfer of MOT inspections to authorised private centres, a measure that many in the sector are asking for urgently.

On the other hand, transporters are demanding urgent incentives to speed up the renewal of the National transport fleet, essential if the country wishes to comply with European regulations and environmental provisions. The average age of industrial vehicles in Italy is 13.5 years and 63.1% of the entire fleet is in the euro 4 category or below. 

"With these vehicles - says a note by the Federation of Italian road hauliers - it is impossible for our affiliates to adopt the recent community laws in environmental matters (dir. 2016/2284 and new agreement between European Parliament and Council dated 18 February 2019), which are demanding for a 15% emissions reduction by 2025 and 30% by 2030, compared to 2018 levels. Moreover, an increasing number of large cities in Italy are issuing measures to prevent Euro 4 vehicles, or below, from entering urban centres. At this rate, road haulage companies with a single vehicle or a small fleet, will find it impossible to keep on doing business.

The FAI (Italian Environmental Fund) is, once again, asking the Government to adopt policies to provide concrete support for the renewal of the Italian transport fleet, scrapping old polluting vehicles and promoting the adoption of new “eco-friendly” vehicles, equipped with modern road safety systems, such as active braking systems to reduces the risk of rear-end collisions, and anti-jackknife systems (not to mention the inevitable lane departure warning).

"The Government - concludes the press note – should make sure that all incentive measures for the sector will also be characterized by a progressive correlation with Euro emission classes. In so doing, we can expect a gradual and rapid renewal of the circulating fleet".

 

 

LOGISTICS: WHEN SIMPLIFYING IS A CHALLENGE

Making the transport and logistics sector more competitive through simplification. Freight Leaders Council came up with several solutions at the Cnel (National Economic and Labour Counsel), which concerns road haulage, last mile logistics, railway inter-modality and sharing logistics, facilitating the transformation of the road transport sector. According to the president Massimo Marciani "sharing logistics can optimize resources and travel time, while digitalization will streamline processes and travel documents and facilitate work planning in urban and suburban contexts, more liberal industrial vehicle rental policies and the reorganization of road haulage companies will all become decisive factors”. Moreover, according to the organization, equally necessary is the replacement of older vehicles in the name of environmental sustainability, the adoption of 2.0 lay-bys that can be booked online, new load indexes, a more rational use of materials for packaging, energy saving, less investment in hardware and the creation and use of intelligent digital systems. "Our association - concludes the president - firmly believes that it is essential to start a process of regulatory simplification to improve the competitiveness of Italian logistic companies, increasingly at the heart of the country’s industrial system.

 

 

RELIABILITY: HERE IS AN EVALUATION SYSTEM

The challenge is to allow clients to choose the best partner assessing its qualities such as safety, reliability and sustainability. This is the latest proposal by Fiap, the Italian Federation of Professional Hauliers. The first to join are the largest food groups, starting with Ferrero, says Alessandro Peron, director of Fiap. The rating is assigned by a third-party certification body and will take into consideration many aspects: from road safety to work safety; from environmental respect to the technology used on the vehicle and the certifications received. The different parameters will be expressed on a scale from 1 to 100, and will allow customers to choose the carrier that corresponds to their organizational model. With this initiative Fiap intends to stimulate its members in adopting quality processes, supporting them in the competition against carriers that focus only on price reductions at the expense of quality and reliability.

 

 

SISTRI: NOW THE ROAD HAULAGE SECTOR CLAIMS DAMAGES

According to Italian road hauliers, Sistri (Waste Tracking System) has been one of the biggest examples of money squandering in the management of special waste: in eight years the costs incurred by the companies involved and the State have exceeded 141 million euro. All for a system that has never worked. Here, then, is a new proposal for a law and a fund to cover the costs incurred by road haulage companies in complying to the Sistri waste management system. This was announced by Paolo Uggè, Vice-President of Confcommercio-Conftrasporto. This happened during a round table on the subject "Sistri, from abolition to a new waste tracking system” promoted by Fai as part of the Verona Transport and Logistics Exhibition. The proposal was immediately sent to the Government, requesting the establishment of a fund with a ceiling of 20 million euro that can at least, to some extent, "compensate" road haulage companies for the costs incurred. "If we do not receive any answers we will turn to all political entities urging them to do something in this sense - Uggé explained - and the hope is that the government will do the same.

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