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France’s TLF Union, along with road transport associations the FNTR and the OTRE, have both openly criticised plans to tax French road transport companies more to encourage a switch to greener transport modes.

In an open letter, the three organisations believe the move will give a significant competitive advantage to foreign hauliers, who they claim have taken an additional 30% of France’s market since 1990.

In 30 years, the activity of French hauliers has declined sharply in favour of foreign hauliers. It went from 90% of activity in 1990 in France to 60% in 2019. This is what is at stake, the survival of our companies and their nearly 650,000 employees. This is because, first and foremost, it is French companies that will suffer from the proposed measures. In another 20 years, there will still be as many trucks as before, only they will no longer be French! The partial reimbursement of TICPE is not a tax gift to road transport companies, it is an essential European mechanism to preserve our competitiveness in the face of very tough foreign competition.

The aforementioned organisations also claim the proposals would not have the desired effect:

The taxation of HGVs has steadily increased over the past 30 years, though its modal share has never been so high – rising from 67% in 1985 to 89% today – representing only 6% of CO2 emissions. There is therefore no correlation between the increase in the sector’s taxation and a possible shift towards alternative freight modes. This is simply not true. Moreover, even if the ambitious objectives of the law doubling the share of rail and waterway freight is achieved, road freight will remain the very large majority mode at over 75%. This is the reason why we must accompany and support road transport in its energy transition and not fight it! The clean transport will be through clean trucks.

Before signing off, the three organisations stressed the role that French hauliers have played during the pandemic, and urged the authorities to support road transport as it is a “strategic sector, vital to the sovereignty of the country.”


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