New European legislation adopted in connection with the Mobility packages

The Mobility packages 1, 2 and 3 are initiatives of the European Commission for improving the European legislation in the transport sector. Each of the initiatives includes amendment proposals regarding social, economical, ecological, technical and other matters. The proposals were met with disapproval from several Eastern European member states, and they were subject to heated debates before their voting in the plenary chamber of the European Parliament. With legislative resolutions from 04.04.2019 and 18.04.2019 the European Parliament adopted the texts of four regulations and three directives in connection with the proposals made by the European Commission. Some of the legislative amendments have already entered into force.

  1. Directive for amendment of the rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector (Mobility package 1).

This directive tightens the control on rules for working time and posting of drivers. The amendments are introduced for the purpose of combating frauds in the sector.

According to the new provisions the competent organs will be able to combine checks on posting rules with checks on working time of drivers. The drivers shall also be subject to roadside checks but only after new technologies are implemented which guarantee the checks’ effectiveness. The text adopted by the European Parliament states that up to the implementation of these technologies the transport companies shall be subject to checks solely on their premises.

The directive introduces a series of exceptions where the drivers shall not be considered to be posted and where the common posting rules shall not apply. Among the exceptions are the following cases:

  • when the drivers are engaged in international carriage of passengers and:

-  the drivers pick up passengers in the member state of establishment, after which they set down the passengers in another state, including outside the European Union. The reverse hypothesis is also applicable;

-  in cases of local excursions where the drivers pick up and set down passengers in the member state of establishment;

  • the drivers carry out a bilateral transport operation – transport of goods in fulfilment of a contract either from the member state of establishment to another state or in reverse;
  • when an initial or final road leg of a combined transport operation is carried out by the means of a bilateral road transport operation.

Outside of these exceptions the common posting rules shall apply to the road transport companies by observing the principle of equivalent payment for the work done. The common rules shall also apply to cabotage operations.

The EU member states are granted the option to choose between several different measures with which to control adherence to the rules of the directive. The first measure is the filing of an electronic declaration with information on the posting. This declaration is filed by the drivers before the authorities in the state of posting. The other alternative is an obligation for the drivers to preserve and present, when required, certain documents, including evidence for the conducted transport operation (for example an electronic consignment note e-CMR), tachograph records and others.

  1. Regulation for amending the requirements for daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and daily and weekly rest periods (Mobility package 1).

After this regulation enters into force the drivers shall follow new rules regarding the weekly rest periods:

  • in case the weekly rest of the driver has been reduced and he has the right to be compensated with additional resting time, the driver may only combine the additional rest with another regular weekly rest of at least 45 hours.
  • it shall not be allowed to spend two types of weekly rests in the vehicle - the regular ones as well as those of above 45 hours, used as a compensation for previously reduced weekly rests. The drivers shall only be able to spend these rests outside the cabins of the vehicles by being accommodated in places with proper sleeping and sanitary conditions. The drivers shall have the option to be accommodated in their homes or in a different private location.
  • the transport companies shall organize their activities in a way that allows the drivers to spend a minimum of one weekly rest for every period of four consecutive weeks in their homes or at another location of their choice. The transport companies shall provide the drivers with the necessary means to return home in case the drivers have chosen to spend their rest there. If the drivers choose to spend their rests at a different location they shall notify the company twice - before beginning and after finishing their rests.

In addition to the above the regulation obliges the member states to determine “Dedicated parking areas” on their territory. Information for all such areas on the territory of the European union shall be published on an official website. The dedicated parking areas will include numerous servicing facilities, including cooking facilities, shelter, wireless internet and sanitation units.

An option is available for the drivers to go beyond the maximum allowed daily and weekly driving time in case all of the following conditions are present:

  • before going beyond the maximum driving time the driver has rested at least thirty minutes;
  • in a period of two hours the driver can reach the operational center of the road transport company where he is normally based;
  • the driver’s objective is to begin his regular weekly rest;
  • the road safety is not jeopardized.

If the drivers go beyond the maximum allowed driving time under the conditions described above, they shall have the right of an additional two-hour rest which may only be used without interrution and during the three weeks following the week in question.

  1. Regulation for amending the requirements for practicing the occupation of road transport operator and the rules for access to the international road haulage market (Mobility package 1).

3.1. Amendments in Regulation (EC) 1071/2009

The European Parliament has adopted the majority of the amendments in this regulation for the purpose of preventing the registration of “letterbox companies”. These are companies which have their main place of activity in a member state different from the member state of establishment in order to pay lower taxes or for other reasons. The new provisions seek to connect the activity of road transport companies with the member state in which they have been established.

According to the amendments the vehicles shall perform a minimum of one loading or unloading operation every four weeks in the member state of establishment. In addition the companies shall only recruit or employ drivers under the law of their member state of establishment.

3.2. Amendments in Regulation (EC) 1072/2009

With the amendments in this regulation the transport companies will need a community license in case their vehicles are equipped with smart tachographs and if they perform international road haulage operations for their own account or for hire.

The amendments narrow the scope of cases where a license or another permit is not needed. According to the rules before the amendments these were the transport operations carried out with vehicles with a laden mass of up to 3.5 tonnes. With the new provisions a license or permit shall not be necessary for transport operations carried out with vehicles with a laden mass below 2.4 tonnes. A license or permit are also not required in the cases of road haulage on a national level where the vehicles have a laden mass below 3.5 tonnes.

With this regulation the European Parliament has adopted several limitations regarding cabotage operations in order to prevent road haulage companies from carrying them out systematically as a permanent or continuous activity.

Unloading as part of a cabotage operation shall be permitted for a term of up to three days as of the day the driver has unloaded goods in completion of his incoming cross border run in a host member state.

This option shall be available only when explicitly agreed to in a transport contract. After the end of the three-day term the driver shall be able to perform new cabotage operations in the same host member state only when all of the following conditions are met: the driver has returned in the member state of establishment of the road haulage company, sixty days have passed as of the day of the return and the driver has performed a new international transport operation, which has begun from the member state of establishment.

  1. Directive for amendment of Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management.

The European Parliament has adopted amendments in this directive by taking into account the strategic objective of the European union for decreasing traffic accidents on the road networks of member states. The goal is for the road deaths for 2020 to be half the number compared to 2010 and to reach a number as closest to zero as possible around 2050.

The road users shall be able to signalize for road risks through online risk reporting systems. Such reporting systems shall be established in all member states. The European Commission shall create a map of the roads included in the scope of the directive. This map shall be accessible online and shall classify the sections of the road network according to their safety level.

  1. Regulation for defining standards for CO2 emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles (Mobility package 3).

This regulation is adopted in light of the long-term strategy of the European union to decrease warehouse gas emissions in the transport sector. The objective is to decrease warehouse gas emissions by 60% in 2050 compared to their level in 1990. The regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is currently in force.

According to the new provisions the European Commission shall periodically determine average specific CO2 emissions for manufacturers, zero and low emission factors as well as a specific CO2 emissions target. The data determined in this manner shall be published every year in a list of the European Commission.

In case a manufacturer has an excess level of CO2 emissions on a date from 2025 onwards this manufacturer shall pay an additional premium for excess emissions.

  1. Directive for amending the rules for promoting clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (Mobility package 2).

According to this new directive when road transport vehicles are acquired by means of public procurement, the contracting authorities and contracting entities shall take into account the energy aspects and the environmental impact of the vehicles. It shall be necessary to comply with minimal percentage targets for clean transport vehicles, acquired by means of public procurement. These percentages are determined in tables attached to the directive and are calculated on basis of the total number of transport vehicles included in the public procurement contracts. 

The directive is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall enter into force in 01.08.2021.

  1. Regulation for creating a European maritime single window environment (Mobility package 3).

The purpose of this regulation is to facilitate the reporting and electronic transfer of data on the arrival, departure and stay of ships in seaports of the European union. Over 2 000 000 such events occur annually on the territory of all member states and their reporting takes around 4 600 000 hours. Numerous legal requirements are present with regards to the reporting which are an additional administrative burden for the operators in the field of maritime transport. This raises the necessity of simplifying the reporting procedure.

To this effect the regulation requires that all member states which operate seaports create their national maritime single window platforms. These platforms shall serve as means for electronic transfer of data regarding the arrival, departure and stay of ships in seaports. Each national maritime single window shall have its own website. The national platforms of all member states shall be connected and harmonized, including by the use of a single graphic user interface. The objective is to create a unified European maritime single window environment through which sea transport operators shall perform reporting activities with identical means and under the same requirements, regardless of their location inside the European union.

The unified European maritime single window environment shall include information on identification of ships, location codes, dangerous and polluting goods and a sanitation control database.

The regulation is published in the Official Journal of the European Union and is currently in force.

  1. Assessment of Mobility packages 1, 2 and 3.

Currently only some of the regulations and directives in the Mobility package initiatives have entered into force, while others still await to be approved by the Council of the European Union. The acts adopted by the European Parliament have still not been applied for a continuous period of time. Therefore their impact on the transport sector on the territory of the European Union and particularly in Eastern Europe is yet to be analysed and evaluated.

Author: Boris Krastevich

Date: 3 October 2019


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