The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) welcomes today’s decision of transport ministers not to allow the cross-border circulation of so-called megatrucks. Beside their heavy impact on infrastructure, several studies come to the conclusion that these vehicles could generate important modal shift from the more sustainable modes of transport to road. The Commission aims to shift 30% of long distance freight transport above 300km to rail and inland waterways by 2030. An extended use of megatrucks would make it more difficult to achieve this goal and would be in contradiction to several other EU policies supporting sustainable transport.
The European inland ports also welcome Council’s efforts to support combined transport by rejecting the Commission’s proposal to extend the maximum road leg in certain “intermodal” transport operations to 300km.
EFIP Director Kathrin Obst said: “Modifications to the rules governing combined transport should not be part of a directive on road vehicles, but should rather be discussed in the framework of the Combined Transport Directive. Inserting a new definition of “intermodal transport” in the Weights and Dimensions Directive, as proposed by the Commission, would create confusion and would weaken the position of combined transport. We therefore hope that in the trilogue negotiations, the European Parliament will insist on its first reading position to oppose the insertion of this new definition.”
Transport ministers reached a political agreement on the updated rules for the maximum weights and dimensions of heavy-goods vehicles, buses and coaches at today’s transport Council. In its legislative proposal the Commission had suggested to confirm that cross-border use of longer vehicles is lawful for journeys that only cross one border, if the two Member States concerned already allow it and if the conditions for derogations under the directive are met. Transport ministers rejected this part of the proposal as a number of Member States felt this could, with time, put pressure on more and more neighbouring countries to accept megatrucks on their territory.
The European Parliament has already adopted its first reading position, in which it also rejected the Commission proposal to allow cross-border circulation of longer vehicles. Parliament demanded that the Commission should assess the broader impact of megatrucks, including effects on the infrastructure and potential modal shift by 2016 and before putting forward any new proposal on this issue.