Mobility Package I will overturn the transport market and hit the Polish economy.
Polish carriers are already preparing for the Mobility Package and planning bases in western provinces or registering companies abroad. Since February 2022 the rules of delegation will cover drivers performing cabotage services and to third countries. Polish trucks will also obligatorily have to return to the base every 8 weeks, drivers every 4 weeks, there will also be a 4-day break between cabotages in a given country.
The Belgians have already calculated that this interruption will cost their carriers EUR 24 million per year. They are, however, pleased with the prospect of removing Central European competition from the market.
The Belgian research institute Transport and Mobility Leuven indicates that the share of Central and Eastern European countries in cabotage within the EU may decrease by 30 percent.
The package will hit the economy
For countries in our region, the Mobility Package can be a big problem. Road transport accounts for 13% of Lithuanian GDP, 6% of Polish GDP. – Due to the introduction of the Mobility Package, Lithuania's GDP will fall by 3-4%. - The Deputy Minister for Communication, Vladislav Kondratowicz, is concerned. During a video conference organised by The Warsaw Institute, Kondratowicz stated that up to 30% of companies would withdraw from the market due to the introduction of the Package, which means a loss of 50 000 cars and 70 000 jobs for drivers.
In case of Poland, the decrease may reach 1% of GDP. - More and more often, small, family businesses are deciding to terminate their transport activities and sell off their machine-stock - notes Łukasz Chwalczuk from Iuridica law firm. In Poland 22.5 thousand companies have up to four cars, so they are micro-entrepreneurs.
– Only companies with a strong financial background will be left on the market, because the rest of them will not manage, or will not want to give in to the rigours of the package, so they will simply give up this kind of activity - believes the owner of Siedlce Eurotrans Karol Rychlik.
According to data from the International Transport Office, at the end of 2019, out of more than 36.5 thousand companies, only 170 had over 100 trucks. - In the long term, the Mobility Package may weaken the position of Polish transport companies on the European market," says Inelo Group President Magdalena Magnuszewska.
According to the Inelo survey, 62% of the surveyed Polish entrepreneurs are most afraid of complex administrative obligations after the mobility package comes into force. - The provisions of the Mobility Package should be changed in such a way as to reduce the administrative burden. The goal should be to improve the functioning of road transport in the EU and not to implement the postulates of the countries that are striving to eliminate competitiveness - stresses the president of the Association of International Road Carriers Jan Buczek.
Mandatory return of cars
The EC maintains that the order to return the cars to the base is to discourage the operation of 'mailbox companies'. The Commission itself estimates that there are half a thousand such companies. Even if there will be several times more of them, they are still a drop in relation to more than half a million European road haulage companies.
In order to eliminate the pathology, the EC is destroying transport markets of peripheral countries. The administrative obligation to return to the base every 8 weeks will lead to a collapse in bilateral transport rates.
Inelo indicates that a frequent business model in Polish road transport is the situation when a Polish company works under contract with a German forwarding agent. However, it does not guarantee the arrivals and departures from Poland. It happens that searching for exports and imports to the country on transport exchanges is not profitable. That is why entrepreneurs do not bring trucks to the country, but deliver drivers by bus to Germany.. – In such a scenario, the company's profitability improves - the average number of completed projects is over 10 thousand kilometers, and the average rate per kilometer increased from EUR 0.90 to EUR 1.01. Drivers are paid basic salary and allowances. If the mobility package in its current form becomes effective, such a carrier will be faced with the need to bring the fleet to Poland every 8 weeks. Rates for return freight may be reduced. On the other hand, labor costs will increase significantly due to receivables paid for cabotage operations in Germany and transfers from Germany to the Benelux or from Germany to Italy. The current business model will no longer be so profitable - warns GBOX expert Tomasz Czyż.
It will lose the environment and the carriers will lose
According to calculations of the Motor Transport Institute, only Polish returning trucks will emit additional 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. In December 2019, KPMG calculated on behalf of the Bulgarian government that the Mobility Package will increase CO2 emissions of Bulgarian transport by 1 percent. Half of the cars forcibly returning to Bulgaria will be empty, and more than a third will not find cargo on Western European markets.
Translating these calculations into the entire international road transport sector in the EU, the carbon dioxide emissions from the Mobility Package will increase by 4 million tonnes. So much is being extracted from chimneys of 3-4 medium-sized coal-fired power plants.
Already now, road freight transport is responsible for 22% of CO2 emissions, even though lorries account for only 2% of vehicles on the roads of the entire EU. Therefore, any updates of regulations that reduce empty mileage, and not the other way round, are advisable," emphasizes the main expert of the Polish National Centre for Driver's Time Analysis and Control (OCRK) from the Inelo Group, Łukasz Włoch.
Delegation of drivers
In cabotage transport and to third countries, drivers will be covered by the rules of delegation. Transport and Mobility Leuven estimates that the inclusion of delegating drivers in cabotage transport and transfers will increase the costs of Polish carriers almost three times, to almost EUR 160 million, compared to 2015.
OCRK estimates that delegating will increase the cost of drivers' salaries by 30 percent. The Centre used the example of a driver who travels on the international route Warsaw - Libourne. He works 20 days abroad and earns 6500 PLN net. The calculations assumed that the drivers receive an average of 47 euros per day of business trips. All additional components (on-call duty, night work, overtime, compensation to the minimum) are on average 3500 PLN gross. The driver works 160 hours, and the average rate of the foreign minimum wage with supplements is EUR 12/h.
OCRK calculates that under the current rules, the total cost of remuneration to be borne by the employer is 8170 PLN (including 3950 PLN for business trips), while after the obligation to delegate has entered into force it will be 10 670 PLN (including 600 PLN for business trips).
– Staff costs may increase by up to 30% after the Mobility Package comes into force. The delegation will cover cross trade and all cabotage operations. Delegation in a new way means using full collective agreements when settling minimum wages and not being able to include allowances and lump sums in the driver's salary - warns OCRK expert Kamil Wolański.
Grzegorz Woelke, who specializes in the restructuring of logistics companies, believes that the Mobility Package will force companies to escape into the grey zone with driver salaries. Entrepreneurs are already warning about drastically decreasing margins. They will have to work more to get the best results, this, in turn, limits the driver's working time rules. However, falsification of tachograph records is considered unlikely.
Although the work on the Mobility Package took more than 3 years, the rejection of a wholesale of necessary amendments made it full of understatements. Carriers are concerned about the lack of clarity of the provisions, e.g. the need to provide the driver with a return every 4 weeks. - What does "enable" return mean? Who make the choice? Is it necessary to take a rest in the country of check-in or can it be taken elsewhere? - entrepreneurs point some unclearness. All the more so because the drivers can be citizens of non-EU countries.
- The EP's decision to adopt the Mobility Package I without the necessary amendments, which I called for together with other ministers, is detrimental to the climate, transport and the reconstruction of the EU economy after the period of the pandemic - says infrastructure minister Andrzej Adamczyk.
The Minister hopes that the EC will notice the harmfulness of the regulations and carry out an impact assessment. - I hope that it will result in the presentation of new legislation, revising the regulations adopted by the European Parliament - Minister Adamczyk points out.
However, you should not be sure. The crisis triggered by the pandemic exacerbated the conflict between peripheral and central EU countries. Transport associations in France and Germany are demanding a ban on cabotage for Eastern European companies. - At the very least, we are facing a recession, or perhaps a serious crisis. It cannot be overcome without an efficient transport sector and rational costs of services - stresses Kosma Złotowski (PiS), MEP.