One of the most significant challenges transport companies are currently facing is the new EU law regulating road transport. These new regulations are consolidated within the Mobility Package. The broad scope of the package includes, inter alia, the posting of workers, access to the road transport market, road pricing, driving and rest time rules, vehicle taxation and CO2 standards.
New law against the environment
Some of the changes have already been in force since 20 August 2020. One of the most significant and criticised changes is the mandatory regulation that the driver must return to the operations centre (base) or the driver’s place of residence every four weeks. In addition to this, which will come into force from February 2022 – transport must be organised in such a way – that the obligation to return the vehicle to one of the operating bases in the lorry driver’s country of residence, can be fulfilled at least once within eight weeks of the vehicle leaving the country. Most stakeholders are keen to point out that the proposed rules will increase empty running, which will consequently lead to an increase in CO2 emissions. It is worth mentioning that the European Commission also recently published a study confirming the validity of these concerns. It states that ‘the obligation to return the lorry will lead to inefficiencies in the transport system and an increase in unnecessary emissions, pollution and congestion’. The study found that the two regulations could result in up to 3.3 million additional tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. While up to an additional 704 tonnes of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 251 tonnes of particulate matter (PM2.5) will be released into the atmosphere from these two provisions of the mobility package alone.