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Road transport: the registry revamps controls on company requisites

Road Transport


Minimum costs: the associations demand full application no more scams; road haulage companies without a vehicle are no longer tolerable

Paolo Castiglia

Regularly registered road transport companies without a truck, road freight companies ... without transport vehicles!? That’s enough. A Central Committee of the Register of Road Hauliers is actively seeking to put an end to this malpractice: one of the latest initiatives taken by the Ministry of Transport was precisely to intensify controls and inspections around registered companies.

The vice-president Silvio Faggi took stock of the situation, explaining that, so far, cancellation procedures have been applied to about 20 thousand companies that were regularly enrolled in the Register but not in the Chamber of Commerce, while another 20 thousand are registered in both bodies but do not appear to own any industrial vehicle. “This - says Faggi - is an anomaly that must be resolved at once".

As a result, there are 85 thousand companies left in the Register and the Chamber of Commerce, all with at least one vehicle, and now the next step is to verify whether they all possess the necessary legal requirements. "In this scenario, the Register launches an initiative that will allow registered companies to verify directly, after registering, all the information concerning them, with the possibility to change any incorrect information or integrate missing ones", adds Faggi.

"This will prevent unnecessary inspections by the Central Committee, as well as suffering any penalties in the event of non-compliance". This tool is operational as of March 20 on the website of the Register of Road Hauliers.

Drawing up the results of the three-year mandate of the Central Committee, Faggi mentions the web portal "instrumental in verifying the compliance of transport companies. Joining six databases together, managed by as many different subjects, able to communicate when the widespread habit is to generate products that talk little or nothing to each other, was really challenging. But the result is remarkable, plain to all. If used appropriately, this portal can provide road monitoring bodies with real time useful and decisive information on whether a company is applying the rules or not. Think, for example, at last mile logistics and transport, often carried out in urban areas, where illegal practices are still far too high. Inspections made with the help of this tool would, in short, be more effective and, above all, immediate".

The Central Committee’s vice-president finally recalls the youth project, "which is facilitating access to the profession of heavy duty driving for a number of new and young will-be drivers. A program made possible thanks also to a significant contribution made by the Register of Road Hauliers. The lack of specialized drivers, prepared to work in an increasingly complex logistics sector, is a real problem throughout the European Union. The Register of Road Hauliers was one of the first national bodies to embarked on a concrete series of initiatives".

Going back to the central issues, inspections and management of the sector’s enterprises, a recent decision taken by the Constitutional Court on minimum costs deserves to be mentioned. Confartigianato Trasporti is now hoping that after all the theory, practical application of the verdict will soon follow.

However, verdict number 47 dated March 2, 2018, which affirms the constitutional legitimacy of minimum costs, is prompting road haulage companies to demand its restoration, after a long "freeze".

The first association to claim it is Confartigianato Trasporti through a statement by the president Amedeo Genedani who called for the immediate posting, on the website of the Ministry of Transport, of all minimum costs, since at the moment, the ministry went as far as publishing only some updates on the price of diesel.

"The considerations made by the Constitutional Court in the ruling are clear and unmistakable - said, Genedani, therefore - there are no excuses for denying the real and effective application of minimum operating costs to the road transport business”.

Genedani concludes by stating that "in the light of this very important ruling, the road transport sector must proceed immediately and jointly to demand that Article 83 bis in the Decree Law no. 122 dated 2008 be integrated with a system of sanctions capable of enforcing not only the application of minimum costs but also and above all respect for payment cut-off times".

To better understand the situation, Barbara Tomì a lawyer from Rovigo - in a note on Trasportoeuropa (a transport and logistics newsletter) - takes stock of the situation surrounding road hauliers’ efforts in promoting the recognition of minimum costs after the last decision taken by the European Court of Justice.

According to the expert, the ruling marks a decisive turning point in the age-long struggle to re-establish minimum costs for road transport: in the last ruling issued by the European Court of Justice on June 21 last year, the Court confirmed the tariffs set by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. European censorship remains limited only to the observations made by the Road Transport Observatory between November 2011 and July 2012.

In other words, the judges in Luxembourg totally confirmed what the sector has been stating for a number of years now in defence of many Italian road hauliers: there are no obstacles to the application of minimum costs as established by the relative Ministries.

This interpretation had already breached the courtrooms even before the European Decree dated June 2016, so much so that several courts have recognized the claims filed by road hauliers based on the rates set by the ministry.




Autonomous trucks according to Google

The electric revolution is closing in on the road transport sector. And it’s starting overseas: Waymo, a subsidiary company of the web giant specialized in designing autonomous vehicles, has recently announced the beginning of a testing phase, in Atlanta, for autonomous industrial vehicles. Therefore, just a few days after Uber’s announcement about tests on self-driving trucks, Google was quick to reveal that by the end of spring it will start testing a new experimental shipping method for its Atlanta data centre with autonomous vehicles. Waymo has been entrusted with this project, and after performing a number of tests in California and Arizona, the State of Georgia, which is one of the most important logistics hubs in the United States, will see the next stage of the project. “This pilot project, in collaboration with Google's logistics team, will allow us to further develop our technology and integrate it with the normal day-to-day business of freight forwarders and hauliers, with their network of factories, distribution centres, ports and terminals", stated an official note from Waymo.

Vehicles will travel on some roads without the assistance of a driver, who will always be in the cabin for safety reasons. Waymo has been working on autonomous cars for years and has installed the same technology and software, albeit adapted, on heavy duty vehicles: "Progress was quite quick because our autonomous driving technology is very flexible. Our trucks use the same set of car sensors, but also the same software that allowed our cars to travel autonomously in Arizona. Our years of experience with passenger cars has given us an edge also in the transport sector and our engineers and AI experts are making the most of the five million kilometres our vehicles have driven on public roads, in addition to the five billion simulated miles driven over the years".

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