zondag 22 januari 2012

European truckers hit out over cabotage expansion for Romania

5th January 2012 – France’s leading haulage federation, the FNTR, says the competitiveness of its members is under even greater pressure now Bulgarian and Romanian operators can access the domestic market within the framework of cabotage enlargement in the EU.
Cabotage has been one of the FNTR’s major preoccupations for some time. It says France alone accounts for one-third of all cabotage operations in the EU and that more than 40% of trucks on the country’s roads are now foreign-registered.
Since 1 January – marking the next stage in the liberalisation of the European road haulage sector – hauliers from Bulgaria and Romania have joined those from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the three Baltic states, who, since May 2009, have had the right to carry out up to three domestic transport operations in fellow member states over a seven-day period, following an international operation.
“The arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian hauliers will generate new tensions on the French domestic market, as a result of very different labour and fiscal costs,” the FNTR warned.
“Not only are we are at a considerable competitive disadvantage with counterparts in eastern and central Europe, but also with haulage firms in Germany, Belgium and Spain, who, for the moment at least, are the most active in the cabotage market in France, an FNTR spokesman told IFW.
Our message to the French government is ‘at least allow us to compete on equal terms with our near European neighbours by relieving the rigidity of work and labour legislation in force in France’.”
The French government is planning across-industry legislation before the presidential election this spring to reduce the amount companies contribute to the state-run health-care and pension systems being reduced, the effect of which would be to trim the business costs of FNTR’s members.
“More substantial measures will have to wait until after the election,” the spokesman admitted.
He went on to paint a depressing picture of the road haulage sector in France, revealing that a Banque de France rating system on the financial health of firms showed that French hauliers, representing one-third of the staff employed in the sector, were in a vulnerable position.

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