The logistics sector is expecting further road transportation regulatory changes to be instated in February 2022. Last year, the European Commission adopted a Mobility Package governing road deliveries in EU countries. The changes to the Mobility Package will safeguard the working rights of truck drivers in Europe by imposing work, rest, and cabotage regimes.
EU Regulation 2020/1054 concerning drivers’ work and rest schedules came into force on 20th August 2020. The legislation requires drivers to return to their employers’ country of legal registration and take at least one week off every four weeks. Drivers may not spend their off week in a vehicle cabin. If a driver cannot spend his week off at his own home, his employer is obliged to pay for alternative temporary accommodation.
As of February 2022, EU Regulation 2020/1055 and EU Directive 2020/1057 will introduce the following regulatory changes to the Mobility Package:
- A trucker performing a one-way international delivery must register as a worker on a business trip. If the market wages in the destination country are higher than those in the driver’s home country, the driver’s wages must be adjusted accordingly.
- Drivers making cabotage deliveries in one country for an employer registered in another country must also register as workers on business trips. A maximum of three such transport operations in one country may be performed within a seven-day period. After this period, the truck may not enter this country for four days.
- A vehicle owned by an EU company used for international transport must be returned to the country of its registered owner within at most eight weeks of its departure from that country.
The purpose of the new rules is to regulate truck drivers’ work and rest regimes as well as to provide equal access to the profession and local markets. Thanks to the new regulations, an international truck driver will be entitled to better business trip compensation, especially when market wages in the country of delivery are higher than the driver’s home country. Cabotage will also be regulated so that drivers from higher-wage EU countries will not be at a competitive disadvantage vs. drivers from lower-wage countries.
For logistics and transport companies, the new rules will entail structural changes. Small- and medium-sized carriers from Eastern Europe are highly likely to refocus on domestic markets, as the financial costs of transporting goods to other EU countries will be unprofitable. Capacity shortages are therefore expected in Western Europe, and excess capacity is expected in Eastern Europe.
“The road transport market is going through difficult times. Diesel fuel prices are rising in EU countries,” says Vitali Eremenco (pictured), AsstrA Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Road Transportation. “Demand for oil is projected to continuing increasing until the end of 2022. Moreover, the shortage of drivers is becoming more acute. The new regulations will make the industry more attractive for drivers. At the same time, however, the new rules will also lead to higher road transport costs for logistics companies. In certain areas with significant carrier shortages, costs are expected to increase by 15% or more. If logistics providers have not yet begun to work closely with their partners to seek solutions, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, their businesses are at risk.”