Members in IRU’s EU passenger, taxi and goods transport groups met in Brussels last week to debate and decide on new policy positions in three key areas.
Last week, IRU member bodies representing goods and passenger road transport operators from across the EU came together in Brussels for two days of discussions on key topics and issues for the sector.
Along with updates on current activities and projects, three important position papers were adopted in relation to driver shortage, carbon measurement and vehicle data, defining the industry’s common view on these matters.
Dealing with driver shortages
In the first of the three adopted positions, IRU is calling for an EU framework for the recognition and exchange of professional driving licences of third-country professional drivers to enlarge the driver talent pool and mitigate chronic driver shortages in the EU.
Based on IRU’s recent report on European driver shortages, around 500,000 unfilled driver jobs are forecasted by the end of 2022. A range of tools and solutions are needed to decrease driver shortages and no opportunities should be spared. IRU also calls for the full digitalisation of the EU driving licence.
This position complements IRU’s earlier call for the revision of the EU Driving Licence Directive to set the minimum age of professional drivers to 18 years while maintaining high levels of road safety and professional competence. This would also help to enlarge the driver pool by bridging the gap between the moment young people finish school and when they can enter the profession.
The second adopted position focuses on the EU’s move to a common standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions in transport. The European Commission recently announced that the CountEmissions EU initiative, a common framework for calculating and reporting emissions for passenger and goods transport, regardless of mode, will be included in its Greening of Freight Package in 2023.
How greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2 emissions, are measured in the EU will significantly impact EU road transport operators as it will become a standard criterion in the selection of logistics and mobility providers.
A common and transparent approach should provide a clear and level playing field across all transport modes and all mobility and logistics players. This is crucial to ensure that the most effective investments are made to further decarbonise and reduce fuel consumption.
The new IRU position outlines a clear path to achieve this, including ensuring that the system is inclusive and does not discriminate on the basis of transport mode (road, rail, aviation, maritime and multimodal); is voluntary for operators; is based on the well-to-wheel approach; and is interoperable with other EU standards and compatible with methodologies used outside the EU.
The third adopted position concerns access to vehicle data, functions and resources. It addresses the rights of commercial road transport operators, as well as users of connected vehicles, to access vehicle-generated data, and the use of that data by third parties.
Vehicle-generated data is commercially sensitive for transport operators, and as such, it should be accessed by third parties only if the transport operator explicitly agrees to such data sharing.
The new IRU position anticipates future sector-specific legislation on access to vehicle data, functions and resources, and calls for a 'user-centric' approach to the vehicle data market, which is traditionally dominated by vehicle manufacturers and other data holders.
The IRU member bodies that met in Brussels were the Passenger Transport Council on EU Topics (CTP-EU), the Taxi and Hire Cars with Drivers Group (TA) and the Goods Transport Liaison Committee (CLTM). (Individual group links are for IRU members only)