The European Commission has published its ‘Mobility Package’ at the end of May 2017 which aims to help the sector to remain competitive in what is called ‘a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitalisation.’ According to the Commission, the proposals will improve the functioning of the road haulage market and help improve workers’ social and employment conditions. This will be done by stepping up enforcement, fighting illicit employment practices, cutting the administrative burden for companies and bringing more clarity to existing rules, for instance on cabotage and posting of workers.
The transport sector has received the proposals with mixed responses.
As a result of a landslide in Germany in mid-August, the railway line between Karlsruhe and Basel has been closed. As the line is an important north-south corridor carrying containers between the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the closure has been causing a lot of disruption to the supply chains using this route. Shippers have been faced with a lot of delays, cost increase for alternative modes of transport including road and inland shipping, and uncertainty and a lack of communication from the operators active on this route. Moreover, the availability of alternative routes has been quite limited due to the maintenance works on other parts of the rail network.
As announced previously in several publications, ESC called for the meeting with the relevant European authorities, DG Competition, to discuss the container capacity crunch, the connection of this crunch with the Alliances and their impact on competition. This meeting took place on 30th June 2017.
ESC explained the effects of the capacity crunch based on the report of the ESC Observatory exercise. Indeed, a significant number of shippers reported in summary the following: breached contracts, suggestions to overbook, delayed sailings, a lack of preparations by the Alliances, absence of contingency plans, and last but not least, some prices doubled temporarily. (more…)
On 13 June 2017, the European Shippers Council was invited to address the CEOs of rail infrastructure managers during their annual meeting in Sopron, Hungary. Jean-Christophe Hermand, the Chair of ESC Railway Transport Council, used this opportunity to outline expectations from cargo owners. He also opened a discussion with infrastructure managers on potential changes that could be agreed and supported by both sides, focusing on the following topics:
- Greater involvement & consultation of end users
- Measures to increase rail freight’s reliability & transparency – especially in terms of rail freight’s performance
- Proposed measures to increase cooperation across the board (IMs/IMs; IMs/RUs/end users)
- Possible way forward to increase the cost-competitiveness of rail freight.
On 31st May 2017, the European Commission published a large package of legislation on road transportation. This package will amend several already existing directives, such as access to the market and the tachograph directive. Main features of the so-called Mobility Package are the liberalization of cabotage and a more stringent regime on paying the minimum wage of the country where a service is delivered.
Cabotage under the present legislation (national transport after an international transport) is possible for 3 voyages in 7 days. Under the proposals, this will be extended to an unlimited number of voyages in 5 days. This extension of cabotage is welcomed by ESC as it increases the possibilities for a more efficient and sustainable road transport. Cabotage should take place under local conditions. (more…)
The 8th Cluster for Logistics Conference: Cooperation in Intermodality and Innovation that took place on the 30th of May 2017 stressed again a need for cooperation in supply chain. Introducing innovative solutions and tackling disruptions or changes will lead to success when it is done together.
“The goal is to collaborate,” said ESC Secretary-General Nik Delmeire during his presentation at the Conference. “ESC’s objective is to improve the Supply Chain by promoting collaboration between different partners in the Supply Chain. Every stakeholder in a supply chain has a different view. To get an optimised Supply Chain for all involved, Shippers need to work together with other stakeholders on joint processes.”
What should shippers do? June 6th, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Yemen and Libya announced that they were severing ties with Qatar due to suspicions of Qatar financing terrorism. The actions taken by these countries had immediate effect on the trade and logistics in the region and especially to and from Qatar.
The European Shippers’ Council is continuously monitoring the developments in Qatar. Here are the recent developments and advice for shippers:
Air transport: regional disruptions
One of the first measures by the countries isolating Qatar was closing their airspace for Qatari carriers and scrapping flights between these countries and Doha, Qatar. This meant a severe blow to the flight operations of Qatar Airways: (more…)