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14/07/2020
Road transport: structural projects needed to relaunch the sector

A general mobilization in favour of a sector that, despite the recent difficulties has never stopped, supporting the country not only from an economic point of view, but also socially, guaranteeing the necessary supplies at the time when the Covid19 pandemic was at its fiercest

Paolo Castiglia

A general mobilization in favour of a sector that, despite the recent difficulties has never stopped, supporting the country not only from an economic point of view, but also socially, guaranteeing the necessary supplies at the time when the Covid19 pandemic was at its fiercest.

This commitment starts directly from the president of the National Register of Road Transport, Maria Teresa Di Matteo, who, in a recent press conference, underlined the fundamental role played by the sector, beside confirming that contacts with trade associations is constant: "Several measures have been taken in favour of road transport, to guarantee licences and the opportunity to travel at weekends" she said.

"We have sped up – said the president of the Institute of road transport at the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports - the procedure for the reimbursement of motorway tolls and new decrees are dealing with other necessities. As far as the investments are concerned, the Minister has recently signed a decree for the necessary resources".

Great expectations, commitments, and a desire for constructive institutional discussions stem from that part of the manufacturing world closer to road transport: "At this stage, what is absolutely clear, even at a social level, that transport equals safety, and trucks are our friends". This was stated by Franco Fenoglio, president of the Industrial Vehicles Section of Unrae, the National Union of Foreign Motor Vehicle Representatives. According to Fenoglio "we must unite our efforts by creating a 'common table' bringing together clients, drivers, media, institutions and the academic world for a better Italy, in order to confirm the vital role played by the road transport sector, and not only during an emergency: we need to promote its strategic role in the future economic recovery, taking into account that the automotive sector employs, in Italy, 1mln and 230 thousand workers, 160 thousand in the technical assistance sector alone".

Everything’s alright then! Not really, the current economic context is rather difficult, and post coronavirus forecasts are dramatic: the sector is facing a potential loss of 150 billion euro in foreign trade and 320 thousand jobs.

Therefore, according to Fenoglio, supported by the sector’s trade associations, strong structural interventions are necessary: "A three-year funding aimed at renewing the circulating fleet replacing aging vehicles with new “greener” ones, a 6 months extension of the super-amortization, the urgent issuance of implementing decrees 2019/2020 and the payment of incentives now overdue since 2017. It might also be necessary to work on bureaucracy and new digital instruments: we still suffer great delays in registration data. We also need the urgent enactment of implementing rules for the granting private individuals the opportunity to perform commercial vehicle inspections. Finally, investments in infrastructure: many public projects have been frozen in the past and we now need to unblock them, at least those that are part of the investments approved by the EU".

Meeting the essential needs of the citizens and the country in general, is guaranteed by road transport also in ways never tried before, for example through e-commerce. An important part of the Document “Trasporto merci su strada” (Freight transport by road) issued by Anfia, which represents the Italian Automotive Supply Chain, is dedicated to e-commerce. The study offers ample space for the analysis of the role played by freight transport in relation to e-commerce, starting from the fact that online shopping is very popular in the EU.

According to this study, the percentage of individuals who ordered/purchased goods and/or services online in 2019 was 63%, in Italy 38%. In the EU, in the period from 2008 to 2018, the percentage of companies that sold goods online increased by 7 %, from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2018. Overall, online sales from Italian websites to Italian and foreign consumers are worth 28.8 billion euro, of which 4.4 billion euro must be attributed to exports generated by e-commerce 3 billion of which in products.

Therefore, e-commerce is particularly important when it comes to organizing logistics and transport. An evolving scenario that requires the best solutions, even customized services, and the achievement of necessary economies of scale. From logistics hubs, to sorting centres, to last mile deliveries, organization becomes fundamental in order to guarantee the efficient delivery of goods, their storage, receiving and processing orders, shipment of goods through traceable systems throughout the logistics activity with the lowest possible impact on the environment.

 

The sector demands an export pact

A pact for exports, framed in the broader perspective of promoting products Made in Italy, was the focus of a videoconference between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Maeci and Confartigianato Trasporti. The meeting, on the subject of infrastructure and logistics, was chaired by the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Manlio Di Stefano and had the aim of defining a common strategy for the next legislative measures with a "Pact for exports" as its main goal. In light of the Covid-19 emergency, the Undersecretary informed about the implementation of further funds allocated by the Government, in agreement with the associations, intended to be used to promote exports and make Italian companies more competitive in a global context.

About the meeting, Sergio Lo Monte, national secretary of Confartigianato Trasporti, representing the requests of thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises operating in the transport and logistics sector, highlighted the contribution of the Confederation in relation to non-repayable funding to support corporate liquidity, digitization, strategic communication and strengthening the role of embassies and ICE offices. 

Additionally, Lo Monte, provided concrete proposals regarding the simplification of procedures, the need for experts in transport and logistics at foreign embassies and ICE offices as a further measure to prevent the establishment of excise duties that, far too often, Italian companies have to deal with on a daily basis, besides constant monitoring and communication activity on behalf of all operators through the central structures of Maeci.

Furthermore, the representative of the sector expressed the need for coordinated actions at EU level of a regulatory nature, instead of unilateral and diversified initiatives of individual Member States and the guarantee of logistical continuity that, despite the Green Lanes act provided by the Commission, is hindered by obstacles at the borders and bureaucratic controls with strong slowdowns of activities.

 

New progress made on foreign transit: extensions for certifications

As hauliers are finding it difficult to cross some borders, here comes a lifeline: the European Commission has approved the extension for the next 6 months of some of the certifications expiring for the road haulage sector.  A positive result for the world of road haulage which, since the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency, has been asking for this extension to continue to travel between Italy and other EU countries without incurring heavy penalties. 

The difficulty of renewing driving licences in Italy, the so-called CQCs, and heavy vehicle overhauls has created a number of problems for international transport companies, which have been forced to reduce the number of journeys so as not to incur sanctions during roadside checks abroad.

"Once the six months have passed - the vice-president of Conftrasposto-Confcommercio, Paolo Uggè explained - the hope is that the ministry will find that solution to the lack of qualified technical staff to carry out the inspections that we are waiting for. Excuses at EU level will no longer be accepted, hence, our Country must acts with diligence in order to avoid that our country’s enterprises be penalized through no fault of their own". 

 

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