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New European legislation: foreign drivers have to return home in the interim

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

During the next few months, various parties in Brussels will be busy negotiating the Mobility Package, a set of measures that are supposed to result in fair competition, social justice and an improvement of the environmental performance. The European Council, Parliament and Commission still do not agree on the new rules. This blog specifically discusses the ‘return home obligation’ and how it will affect the one-way transport market.

Capacity problem The Mobility Package aims for a fair ‘return home policy’. In order to prevent social malpractice, every foreign driver would have to return home for a certain period of time (one or perhaps even two weeks) after three or four weeks. That’s a noble aspiration because social malpractice and exploitation are highly undesirable. However, it will create an enormous capacity problem; whereas you now need ten drivers to deal with the work, you may need fifteen instead. Where are we supposed to get them? Being a truck driver is no longer a popular choice because of the low pay in proportion to the increasing amount of paperwork and rising fines for minor offences. That’s why we already see a shortage of national or EU drivers. Right now, we, the transport companies, are more than happy to hire Rumanian or Bulgarian drivers or charters.

Mentality As mentioned above, social malpractice is undesirable. Our experience, however, is that the majority of companies are fine and stricter monitoring of the current regulations could strongly reduce existing excesses. And let's not forget the differences in mentality. A lot of drivers from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria intentionally choose this profession and spend five or seven years working hard, far away from home. By then, they’ve earned enough money to make their dreams come true in their home country. The majority of them need these ‘social’ measures like a hole in the head, as it would mean it will only take them longer to achieve their goal, mostly a plot of land and a house.

Consequences So a capacity problem is lurking around the corner. Consequently, pressure on transport companies will only increase. Prices will have to go up but are not always paid in the market (read the extensive blog on low rates for more details). Goods transport is often of secondary importance. It creates more excesses: cuts, fewer permanent contracts and more on-call workers and as a result, even fewer people will want to become a truck driver. Furthermore, higher transport prices will, eventually, end up on the plate of consumers. In return for its own policy, the EU will face an even more complicated issue, namely fewer logistical options, higher consumer prices, more excesses in the logistics sector, which is confronted with increasingly complex regulations. Investing more in the enforcement of existing regulations is well worth it in our opinion.

With this article, SKB Logistics wants to start the discussion. Under these measures, transport costs will continue to rise, which is why container transport clients also play a role in this logistical debate. SKB Logistics advocates a healthy transport sector. If you want to find out more about our solutions for one-way container transport, please contact us on +31 85 111 7655 or or fill in our form.

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