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The Council of the European Union has developed a negotiating position on the issue of combined transport. The European Parliament also has a vote on a project regarding this matter. The time has come for interinstitutional negotiations, i.e. trilog. What regulations are currently being discussed?

Already at the end of last year, member ministers in the EU Council agreed on provisions to ensure that combined transport became a viable alternative to long-distance transport by trucks. The idea is to increase the number of operations performed by more eco-friendly means of transport, including trains, barges and ships.

What did the ministers agree on?

Under the Council’s general approach, the new rules will apply to international combined transport operations, namely those carried out between EU countries, or between an EU country and a non-EU country. This essentially maintains the scope of the current directive, but the inclusion, under certain conditions, of operations that are partly carried out in third countries is clarified – we read on the EU Council website.

This reform creates better conditions for combined transport so that it can compete more easily with pure road freight. It is good for everyone since it will result in improved air quality and less road congestion,” said Norbert Hofer, Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria, President of the Council.

It’s not everything. As reported by Polish MEP Elżbieta Łukacijewska, „the reform of the directive also increases the flexibility in terms of the length of the road section, so that you can reach the nearest transhipment terminal, which is crucial for countries with less developed infrastructure or geographically extensive”.

The project approved by ministers also assumes the development of infrastructure, eg transhipment terminals.

It also provides for the possibility of deciding on certain restrictions related to cabotage, including a maximum 5-day limit of the continuous presence of the vehicle on their territory,” adds the MEP.

Proposals for the European Parliament

However, the regulations in question constitute only the proposal of the EU Council. The proposals of the European Parliament, which were voted in mid-September, are equally important. According to MEP Łukacijewska, they are also more liberal.

The report clarifies that the road section can only be located within a EU Member State. The provision on limiting the road section to 20 per cent of the length of the entire trip has been put aside, assuming that it will be a maximum of 150 km. The exemption from the regulation on cabotage has also been confirmed, but only for international combined transport operations,” the MEP informed.

Trilateral negotiations will ultimately reveal which regulations will come into force.

Photo: Pixabay/MichaelGaida/public domain

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