A Contingency Plan for Transport, adopted by the European Commission on the 23rd of May aims to strengthen the resilience of the European transport sector in times of crisis. The plan builds on the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges the transport sector has been facing since the beginning of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
The Plan proposes 10 actions, including an adaptation of the EU legislation in the field of transport for crisis responsiveness. The plan aims to support the transport sector, ensure free movement across borders, exchange information, and coordinate transport policies.
However, as it is pointed out by the Nordic Logistics Association, “common European solutions are crucial when crises arise that challenge the transport industry “ but they warn against derogations from EU legislation.
” A Contingency Plan is a good and necessary tool, not least with the recent pandemic in mind, says the CEO of NLA Torsten Laksafoss Holbek. However, the Mobility Package must not be undermined and any deviations have to be carefully analysed against the back-drop of the rights and obligations established for the fair and uniform functioning of the road transport market. It is important that we avoid a scenario in which certain countries and companies use the situation to, for example, invoke circumvention of the requirement that the regular weekly rest must be held outside the vehicle under appropriate conditions, as we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also saw countries introducing temporary derogations from the driving and rest time regulations. Here we must simply say that the general situation must then be much closer to pure force majeure than was the case during the pandemic. ”