ESC supports Dutch shippers’ council position with regard to Posting and Cabotage

The European Shippers’ Council is supporting and would like to draw your attention to the position of the Dutch Shippers’ Council on the vital issues of posting and cabotage in the Mobility Package 1.

The best approach to the issue of
free market versus unfair competition

As representatives of the ‘cargo owners’ in the Netherlands we focus on well-organised transport markets that provide a good quality, affordable, and sustainable transport. An optimal functioning of the single European market for road transport is key for us, because it helps our businesses remain competitive in a globalised economy.  
Concerning the proposals including transport in the ‘posting of workers directive’ we have serious concerns. Our members understand the need to gradually work towards an equal market for truck drivers throughout Europe. It seems though that the EU proposals are focusing solely on equalisation of wages instead of leading the way towards a gradual integration of transport labour in the single European market. That would include proposals on, for example, harmonising fringe benefits and a roadmap for mitigating the gap in pay due to differences in the Member States’ social and fiscal regimes. The current proposal does not bring a single European Transport market any closer but increases the administrative burden for all parties concerned considerably. A European portal would help to decrease administrative burden.
We want to stress that there is a growing urgency to make further steps towards a single European Transport market. Concerning cabotage, the Commission’s proposal for 5 days still has our full support. The fast-growing drivers’ shortage is an additional motivation for the optimisation of the European supply of truck drivers. It contributes to a further integration of the European road transport market which means increased choice in road transport operators for cargo owners and more flexibility. The current cabotage rules are too tight for foreign transport companies to be active and competitive in domestic transport, for example, in the Netherlands.
The current patchwork of different enforcement measures regarding posting in Western Europe is a very expensive administrative process and leads to a suboptimal situation for companies. Therefore, we ask for a step-by-step approach. The goal of the lex specialis proposal was to envisage the transnational character of the European transport sector services. In the political dialogues this goal has lost its importance. A possible solution could be that the threshold for posting will be more limited in time. For example, starting with a threshold for posting of 7 days for international transport and ending up with a threshold of 3 days for international transport. During this period, smart tachographs, better enforcement instruments, and harmonised fringe benefits offer a good interplay together with broadening cabotage for a free market under fair social conditions.