Source: NLA-BGL-FNTR, 2020-12-09
We share the objective of more sustainable and smart transport for the future but don’t forget pragmatism!
The NLA-BGL-FNTR Common Office in Brussels welcomes the European Commission’s mobility strategy for the next ten years’ transport policies in Europe, which states that “the most serious challenge facing the transport sector is to significantly reduce its emissions and become more sustainable”. But it will not happen overnight. A high degree of pragmatism is needed. Stakeholders and other concerned parties need to be involved to get everyone on board. The social dimension of the green transition must also be taken into consideration. As announced in the EC paper, “sustainable renewable and low carbon fuels must be deployed on a large scale without delay”. But, so far the deployment of sustainable fuels in Europe is very low.
Frankly, there is not a viable business case for a haulier to invest in green alternatives today, such as electric or hydrogen driven trucks. Electrification of heavy duty vehicles is only at a very early stage and therefore the role of low carbon fuels needs to be recognised such as bio-methane, other sustainable bio-fuels and Power-to-X. Moreover, information related to new energy alternatives is lacking. We need more accurate advice and assurance that the associated infrastructure will follow. Then, as for the past 20 years, we find again in the EC communication the old-fashioned reference to shifting freight carried today by road to rail and inland waterways. This blatantly fails to recognise the pivotal role that commercial road transport is playing in delivering goods in Europe.
Not least during the covid-19 pandemic. We thus encourage the legislators to keep focus on “multimodal cooperation” in line with the proposal put in the paper for “multimodal logistics”. Concerning “smart mobility”, we strongly recommend a clarification about data governance as some data in road haulage is highly sensitive when it is notably linked to commercial information. Then, when digitalisation addresses facilitating and strengthening controls, this offers encouragement for a better enforcement of social legislation in transport. This last point remains of key importance for the operators we represent in Germany, France and the Nordic countries. It is of great interest when it comes to defending fair competition, human working conditions and consequently facilitating a resilient mobility.