Commission proposes amendments to rules on combined transport
The government has submitted to Parliament an official letter concerning the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council. The proposal concerns amendments to the common rules for combined transport of goods between Member States.
The proposal is part of a large legal entity of the Commission concerning road traffic. The aim of the entity is to support fluent functioning, efficiency and competitiveness of road traffic in the internal market, to clarify the current regulation and to unify the execution in Member States. In addition, it is one of the measures targeted at reducing traffic emissions.
The aim of the directive is to transfer the transportation of goods from roads to railway or sea transport instead, and so increase the amount of transport methods that are more favourable to the environment. The government mainly supports the proposal to reduce the emissions caused by transport.
In the proposal, the maximum distance of road transport after transport by sea will be increased from 150 km to 20 per cent of the whole journey. The distance of the journey would be calculated from the starting point to the point of discharge, thus including the sea voyage. Sea transport would not, however, be considered if road transport is not commercially available for the route in question. As this is difficult to apply in practice, the government takes a critical stand on the proposal in this respect.
As regards combined transport, cabotage could increase to some extent from the current level, if the current minimum distance of 100 km is removed from sea transport. According to the government, the wording of the directive should be clarified here.
The impact of the proposal on cabotage is related to the processing of other pending road traffic initiatives of the Commission. Their purpose is to reduce the drawbacks of cabotage, for example, in the supervision of the observance of the terms and conditions of employment of posted drivers. The purpose of cabotage is to reduce driving without freight, which the government considers a positive matter. According to the government, the starting point should be that the same rules on posted drivers would concern all kinds of cabotage irrespective of the regulatory basis.
The realisation of the proposal would not cause major changes to the transport arrangements in Finland. The proposals would bring some improvements to the fluency of transport directed to Finland and that departing from Finland. The impact on emission reduction would be limited in Finland, yet would apparently be more significant in Central Europe. To reduce emissions, the distribution of means of transport could be impacted by national measures in Finland.
In the Council’s traffic working group, the actual handling of the proposal would commence at the beginning of 2018.
Jorma Hörkkö, Senior Government Adviser, tel. +358 295 34 2503
Erik Asplund, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 34 2277