The European Commission has proposed amendments to the Weights and Dimensions legislation, including provisions that would allow cross-border operations with European Modular System (EMS) vehicles and the use of longer and heavier vehicles. This proposal has been met with mixed reactions from stakeholders, with some expressing concerns about the potential negative impacts on road safety, congestion, and the environment.
The European Shippers’ Council supports the proposal, arguing that it would have a positive impact on overall freight transport by improving efficiency and fostering competition. The use of longer and heavier trucks would help to address the driver shortage crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
CLECAT, the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services, also supports the proposal, stressing that it would have a positive impact on overall freight transport by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and improving road safety. They also state that the proposal would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and congestion.
However, some stakeholders, such as UIRR (International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport), CER (the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies), EFRA (European Rail Freight Association), UIP (International Union of Wagon Keepers), and UIC (International Union of Railways), have expressed concerns that the proposal could lead to a reverse modal shift, diverting freight traffic from rail to road.
ESC believes that the proposal could be implemented in a way that minimises any potential negative impacts. The benefits of the proposal, such as improved efficiency and reduced emissions, outweigh the potential risks. ESC urges the Commission to take a more holistic approach to decarbonising transport, considering the needs of all modes of transport together. Recommendations that ESC together with other stakeholders submitted to the European Commission last year are still valid.
The Commission’s proposal is still being considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. It is likely to be subject to further revisions before it is finalised.