On 25 April 2013, a regulation came into force stating that under cabotage, following termination of a transportation operation in Finland, haulage companies based in EU Member States have been allowed to conduct a maximum of three haulage operations in a 7-day period and no more than 10 operations in a period of three months. Customers have a legal obligation to ensure that cabotage regulations are being complied with. Both the police and customs officials are acting as monitors. Haulage vehicles have to carry the international CMR freight consignment note and present this to police officers on request. The extended use of foreign vehicles for transportation operations within Finland under legal cabotage is not permitted, as they have to be registered in Finland within seven days of their importation.
On 1 September 2013, Danish Transport Authority changed cabotage rules. When driving national transport of goods, the notification states that transport of empty containers, empty returns and empty semi-trailers is accepted as a cabotage operation (empty containers and empty returns (i.e. pallets, flower cages/boxes etc.) are not accepted as goods for consumption, sales or processing).
On 21 June 2014, a Royal Decree prohibiting spending the regular weekly rest in the cabin of a vehicle (Art. 8, par. 8 of Regulation 561/2006) entered into force.
The law stipulates that when the regular weekly rest is due at the moment of the control and this is taken on board of the vehicle, it constitutes an infringement. The Belgian authorities should not require evidence documenting the place of spending the regular weekly rest for the previous period of 28 days. The evidence should be the data from the digital tachograph card or tachograph chart. According to the information from the Belgian authorities, the on-the-spot fine is € 1800 where an infringement is detected. In case there is no immediate payment, the authorities can block the vehicle, request a refundable deposit or if the fine is not paid within 96 hours, the vehicle can be confiscated. The case can also be presented to a judge where, in case of a guilty verdict, the fine can reach € 60 000.
The Royal Decree is applicable to vehicles under the AETR regime as the AETR Agreement is specifically mentioned in the text.
On 12 July 2014, a law prohibiting spending the regular weekly rest in the cabin of a vehicle (Art. 8, par. 8 of Regulation 561/2006) entered into force. The law establishes an obligation, subject to penal sanctions (criminal offence), for the driver to take the regular weekly rest period outside the vehicle cabin. Companies not respecting this risk one-year’s imprisonment and a fine of €30,000.
18 February 2015 – the French Government is currently trying to pass a legislative provision to apply worker posting rules to road transport. Such legislation would lead to the application of French social regulations to drivers operating on French territory (except in transit) including, for instance, the introduction of a minimum wage of EUR 9.60 for non-French drivers active on French territory. However, the parliamentary process is still ongoing and the only available information on the proposed legislation is as follows:
- foreign undertakings must appoint a representative in France who will be responsible for liaising with the enforcement authorities
- prior notice of posting is to be replaced with a “posting certificate”
- the consignee will be considered as the operation’s principal (even if the principal is the sender). It will therefore be up to the consignee to perform all checks relating to implementation of the posting, including payment of the minimum wage applicable in France (French companies which are consignees of a transport operation will be first in line in case of checks).
For further details, however, one will have to await publication of the decree – usually within at least 3 months.
On 1 January 2015, the law providing for a minimum wage of EUR 8.50 per hour became applicable in Germany. It covers the transport sector and applies to German and foreign operators performing transport activities on the territory of Germany (cabotage, international transport operations to and from Germany, transit).
The law contains an obligation that employers report to the German Customs West in Cologne at least every six months by submitting business operation plans involving movements of workers in Germany for the next period (maximum six months). These plans need to mention the start and probable duration of activities and the details of the probable employees who are going to work on German territory. The first registration of transport companies with the German Customs will have to be accompanied by a letter certifying that, upon request, employers will provide the proof that the minimum wage was paid to the driver. This proof of minimum wage payment should be provided in the German language.
Storage of documents
The employer must record the start, end and duration of the hours worked on German territory at the latest 7 days after the transport operation is performed. This document is to be stored for at least 2 years on German or foreign territory. If the document is stored abroad, an affirmation needs to be added which guarantees that requested documents are at the disposal of German Customs in order to facilitate verification.
As of 30 January 2015, the application of the law on the German minimum wage for transit operations performed by foreign road transport operators is postponed until its compliance with EU law is clarified. Cabotage, as well as transport operations to and from Germany, are not covered by this moratorium.
The final outcome of these recent protectionist measures (in France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Denmark) will drive the change of the EU regulations on access to the market and the profession – namely the Regulations 1071/1072/1073 of 2009 – by introducing more restrictions for East European transport operators: the application of a Western minimum wage and a limited time/number of operations will be two major issues in the new rules.
Before it is too late, we propose you to start coordinating our actions and to try to reach a common position in front of these dangerous reactions of WEST EUROPE affecting all our associations from EU 13, no matter how similar or different we may be in the rest.
We need to be united in our position against the protectionist measures of the Western EU, in order to strengthen our voice at the European institutions when defending the values of the European single market, asking for the continuation of the liberalization of road transport market within the EU, as the complete liberalization ensures the best and most natural balance of the market.