New trucker rules shake up European logistics

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New rules will dictate everything from minimum pay for truckers doing foreign deliveries to mandating that trucks return home at regular intervals.

The Mobility Package was adopted in 2020 after years of fierce battles — countries in the bloc’s west argued they wanted to stop what they said was a race to the bottom in the industry, while mostly Central and Eastern European countries denounced the changes as thinly-veiled protectionism meant to benefit western trucking companies.

Although many of the measures go into effect this month, several countries are fighting a rearguard action at the Court of Justice of the EU, which is expected to rule later this year.

Industry groups warn that the new rules, covering drivers’ pay and placing limits on their deliveries within other countries, will limit capacity and make deliveries more expensive.

But transport worker unions argue the package is a chance for Europe to ensure fairer competition, improve truckers’ working conditions and tackle the bloc’s growing shortage of drivers. Road transport has become “artificially cheap” and now, “the economic sustainability of the sector is really on its knees,” said Cristina Tilling, head of land transport at the European Transport Workers’ Federation.

Photo – Trucks line up along the highway near the port area of Calais, France. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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