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European Commission


Brussels, 14 April 2014

Report on the State of the EU Road Transport Market – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the report about?

The report describes the situation of the EU road transport market, and analyses its development since 2009. It provides an overview of market activity, employment in the sector and company structure, development of cost levels and structures, enforcement of road transport legislation and of the social situation in the sector. It responds to a request from the European Parliament and Council to the Commission to provide such an analysis in Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 on access to the international road haulage market.

What are the current rules?

Access to the road haulage market is free for hauliers that carry a Community License. International transport is free from quantitative and qualitative restrictions. National transport on the other hand is still subject to restrictions (see below). Therefore EU road transport operators actually have a limited access to the internal market. This has an important effect on the efficiency of the overall EU transport and logistics system, as around two thirds of all road transport is national transport, goes against the spirit of a Single Market and the aim of connecting Europe.

What is the problem?

The European road transport market is subject to different requirements to ensure that road transport undertakings operate in a safe, fair and professional way. However they are not always correctly implemented. In particular, provisions aimed at ensuring good conditions for workers are not always enforced as they should be. Progress must also be made in completing the single market for road transport. Even though international transport is open to hauliers from all Member States, national markets continue to be partly closed to competition. As national markets account for two third of all road transport in the EU, this creates inefficiencies: one in four trucks in national transport runs empty, and productivity in the road haulage sector is low.

What is cabotage?

Cabotage refers to a situation in which a road transport operator registered in Member State A, carries out national transport in Member State B. Cabotage is still strictly regulated: operators can perform three cabotage operations in the seven days following an international carriage. As a result, cabotage only accounts for around 2.5% of all transport volumes in the EU.

Is the Commission proposing to liberalise the EU road transport market?

No. This is a report, not a legislative initiative. The report analyses the development of the road transport market since 2009. It establishes that there is a cost to the EU in terms of transport efficiency and environmental sustainability of the present restrictions. In its conclusions, it recommends that several issues be addressed: enforcement of legislation (particularly social legislation), working conditions and skills of drivers, and removal of barriers to market access. It recommends that further market opening takes place in a gradual way along with other measures to guarantee undistorted competition and high social standards in the sector.

Why is the Commission suggesting that deregulation might eventually help the sector? Isn't road haulage deregulated already?

Road haulage is not a deregulated sector. Quantitative restrictions on international road transport were removed in 1992. However access to national transport markets is still restricted (see above). Hauliers must also comply with strict rules when establishing a road transport undertaking. In addition, drivers must respect provisions to guarantee a high level of road safety and professional competence, as well as a level-playing field between companies. This includes requirements for driving time and rest periods and working time. The Commission is working with Member States to better enforce these.

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