25 Oct UETR Board and GA of 25 October: urgent action is needed to address main challenges for road haulage sector in the EU
Topics discussed by the General Assembly were: decarbonisation of road freight transport, alternative fuels through the medium and long term, infrastructure, safe parking areas, lack of drivers, restrictions of EU countries due to COVID-19 such as the introduction of Green Pass (Italy, Austria). The EU must adopt a Contingency Plan for transport for future unforeseen situations to contain concrete instructions and measures, binding all EU MS and not recommendations.
The lack of drivers has been recognized as a key issue by all members. We need to make the profession attractive again, it is not just a matter of driver’s salary but also amelioration of working conditions, promotion of image, training – to address the lack of interest in the job. A large number of drivers retire, and younger drivers do not take their place. This problem must be addressed systematically in order to restore dignity to that profession, and thus to restore interest to the benefit of real economy. “In Spain, for example, there is a shortage of drivers, at the same time there are 19,000 in the unemployment register,” said UETR President Julio Villaescusa.
It was proposed that the revision of the TEN-T network to take into account provision of safe parking areas as the necessary infrastructure to improve the living conditions of drivers with funding from EU. This needs to invest in increasing traffic safety, drivers would be offered better conditions for work and rest, which would have a positive impact on the image of the business.
UETR fully supports the ecological transition and a pragmatic approach to ensure that environmental targets are acquired by road transport SMEs in a manner ensuring competitiveness and sustainability going hand in hand.