EC announces “serious and detailed” proposals on abnormal transport reform

ESTA is studying carefully new proposals from the European Commission on improving the efficiency and environmental impact of the transport sector – including abnormal transport.

They were contained in the Greening Transport Package and the revision of the Weights and Dimensions Directive on road transport – 96/53/EC – unveiled by Brussels last week.

The wide-ranging set of documents included measures to improve and simplify the authorisation process for abnormal load transports along with action to reduce the transport sector’s CO2 emissions by 90 per cent.

ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “These are serious and detailed proposals and they merit a considered response.

“My first impression is there are signs of a real commitment by the Commission to finally address the “red tape” in abnormal transport permitting – but we have to be careful as this is a proposal and it still has to pass both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.”

Raluca Marian, Director of EU Advocacy for the IRU – of which ESTA is a member – said: “This EU Green Transport Package is far more ambitious than what was presented in 2013. It will help our industry to better serve European citizens and others who rely on road transport services, including the other modes of transport, in a more economic and ecological manner.

“With this proposal, the European Commission is offering serious opportunities to road goods transport companies to improve their operational efficiency, optimise the load factor, and therefore reduce fuel consumption and emissions, for both zero-emission and traditional fleets.”

IRU – the International Road Transport Union – said that the European Commission has come forward with several interesting proposals on issues that have concerned the road freight transport sector for many years.

As well as the issue of permits for abnormal and heavy transport, it addresses the 44 tonnes gross vehicle weight for cross-border transports with standard vehicles (as well as any vehicle used in combined and multimodal transport); increased weight and length derogations for zero-emission vehicles; the cross-border use of the European Modular Concept; and the alignment of loaded length for vehicle logistics.

The proposals from Brussels have followed a long and continuing campaign by ESTA, its member associations and individual companies to highlight the difficulties faced by the abnormal and heavy transport sector, and its increasing economic importance.

But despite the progress, Ton Klijn added some words of caution: “Of course we welcome the fact that the Commission is taking the concerns of abnormal transport more seriously than in the past, but these proposals will do little to help the very real problems being faced in many countries today – especially those being suffered by our colleagues working in Germany.

“Alongside agreed medium and long-term plans, we need urgent action in the short term as well if European industry is not to be badly damaged.”