On any given day, almost a quarter of all trucks on Europe's roads are empty, either on their way home or between loads. Opening national road transport markets to more competition would help reduce empty runs and increase efficiency in the sector, according to the report.
Vice-President Kallas commented: "The current rules are wasteful for European companies, impact on all road users and are bad for the environment. We need clear regulations for the industry and at the same time we need good working conditions for the drivers. I hope the next Commission will continue down this road."
The main findings of the report are:
- The enforcement authorities of Member States must step up their efforts in enforcing existing legislation more effectively and consistently.
- The Commission and the EU can help by clarifying rules that are understood, interpreted and implemented differently in different Member States.
- Social rules must be better applied in road transport if the sector is to attract new drivers, and be able to handle the expected future demand for freight transport.
- The EU has an opportunity to improve the efficiency of its economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
Facts and Figures:
- Road transport moves almost three quarters (72%) of goods in inland transport in the EU, with an annual turnover of €300 billion and accounts for some 2% of the EU's GDP.
- Land transport, of which road transport is part, is the only mode of transport in which labour productivity has dropped since 2001 (-0.2%).
- National transport accounts for 67% of road transport in the EU. However, access by foreign hauliers to national markets remains very limited.
- Heavy goods vehicles often run empty: 20% of all trucks in the EU run empty. In national transport this rate rises to 25%.
- There are about 600,000 companies, a very large share of them SMEs, in the road transport sector, employing close to 3 million people.
- Road transport faces driver shortages in the near future. Drivers are an ageing population and road transport is not considered an attractive profession. Working conditions are perceived to be difficult, and Member States do not implement social provisions consistently.
- According to a recent study by the European Parliament1, the cost of the remaining restrictions to cabotage2 is around €50 million per year.
- Removing the restrictions to cabotage would help to reduce empty running by making it easier for hauliers to combine loads and utilise return trips.
- Removing the restrictions would also allow the optimisation of fleet management, thereby increasing the overall logistics efficiency of the EU economy. This would help to keep the EU attractive as a location for manufacturing and trade.
The report will be forwarded to the European Parliament and Council for further discussion.