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Mobilising Poland’s road transport know-how for Europe and beyond
Poland | Wrocław

Mobilising Poland’s road transport know-how for Europe and beyond

28 Feb 2024 · People

IRU member EwiCenter equips operators and drivers with information, data and software to set wages, navigate the EU’s Mobility Package and boost the attractiveness of the driver profession. We caught up with the company’s CEO, Mariusz Hendzel, to better understand how.

Tell us about EwiCenter

EwiCenter’s goal is to support drivers, companies and the industry.

Our subscription-based software, Ewisystem, analyses and calculates remunerations and maintains full records of drivers’ working hours and payrolls. 

We also provide other services to transport companies, including accounting services, calculating driver pay for them, and unpacking the intricacies of the Mobility Package. 

We’re committed to building a more positive image of the transport industry, particularly through our media and online activities. On our YouTube channel, for example, we teach road transport stakeholders how to manage “working time accounts”. We also disseminate information to transport operators and accounting companies on national and EU legislative developments.

Beyond pure transport topics, we offer recommendations on sales development, branding and manager-driver relations.

What about training and information services?

EwiCenter provides various types of training and information related to the analysis of drivers' working times in accordance with EU regulations. 

We also have detailed courses on setting wages in Poland and comparisons with foreign wages according to the Mobility Package.

What are the challenges facing the industry in Poland?

Rising operating costs is one of the biggest challenges. Transport operators need to reduce costs and increase revenue by obtaining better contracts. 

It is therefore important to build a strong brand and value proposition for EU contractors. Employer image and transparent driver remuneration practices contribute significantly to team stability. They’re both key to building strong companies in the European market.

Another inevitable challenge facing the entire industry is automation. Every company employee, whether it be managers, administrative personnel or drivers, should have specific processes and procedures in place to facilitate work. Smart IT systems can perform certain tasks, but drivers and other specialists are still absolutely necessary.

For the industry to remain prosperous, it is important to make it more attractive to new employees. There is still work to be done to build a positive image of our sector for the widest possible audience.

How does EwiCenter help drivers, operators and the industry?

At the industry level, we actively work to raise awareness about the importance of building a positive employer image. To this end, we support individual transport companies and drivers every day.

Our team of consultants help operators to correctly set wages and provide advice on transport law and accounting. We also offer training to drivers on remuneration rules, especially under Mobility Package 1. 

How do you help operators and drivers with Mobility Package 1?

We regularly observe misunderstandings about the rules for setting wages and the costs associated with providing international transport services. 

Our main message to drivers is that the Mobility Package does not guarantee them high wages, and that the financial rules for transport companies vary from country to country. We are introducing initiatives to strengthen dialogue between drivers and managers so that both sides understand each other’s constraints and expectations. 

Our team works with transport companies to introduce new management procedures, eliminate irregularities and bring everyone to the table to clarify misunderstandings.

We also believe that comparing the pay rates of international drivers requires precision and a willingness to go beyond stereotypes. This is why we strive for maximum objectivity in calculating rates and stressing the purpose of comparing route costs according to the Mobility Package. After several years of experience in this field, we have received recognition from both operators and drivers.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Our biggest achievement to date has been the development and deployment of our innovative driving time accounting software for the Polish market. It uses the latest IT tools, including artificial intelligence. Our software effectively competes against market leaders and responds to the industry’s digitalisation trends.

We pride ourselves in being a trusted leader for transport companies in Poland. Our conferences and driver trainings attract hundreds of participants, which is highly rewarding. 

Since we have managed to successfully find effective solutions for the Polish market, we think it’s worth expanding this experience to other EU countries.

How will digitalisation evolve in the coming years? 

There are many areas in the industry that still have potential for digitalisation and automation: repetitive administrative processes, the analysis of second-generation tachograph data, and the insurance exchange market. 

If we can provide access to objective data and metrics about our sector, the wider public will inevitably have more confidence in employment opportunities in our sector. This is crucial for the future of our industry and the chronic shortage of drivers we’re experiencing.

Will increased automation attract more drivers to the profession?

Automation and digitalisation can improve some aspects of the profession to make it more attractive. For example, through more objective evaluations of driver performance, fairer bonuses, and aligning rates with EU standards. Expanding the role of artificial intelligence in automated processes, such as wage settlements, will make our industry more trustworthy.

But new tools also create new responsibilities for drivers. As the average age of drivers is currently over 50, we can also anticipate their challenge to adapt to growing technological demands. 

How can the industry attract more drivers?

For the general public, our focus should be on education and building a more positive image of the profession. Young people need to be aware that the driver profession is a valuable, rewarding and responsible career.

The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of drivers as essential workers. We need to continue publicising this image. Becoming a driver should be synonymous with pride. Solutions should be explored to offer and financially support vocational training for future drivers through an industry or state fund.

Within the industry, we must also improve drivers’ working conditions : adequate infrastructure, such as safe and secure parking areas, flexible approaches to working hours that allow drivers to spend more time at home, and fair compensation for the commitment and social costs associated with the profession. If we want to ensure a bright and sustainable future for our sector, employers and operators should practice fair play and build positive relationships with drivers.

What is Poland’s role in European transport?

As the largest player in the European transport sector, Poland plays a critical role.

The experience gained by Polish companies in comparing wages and controlling transport processes should be taken into account in discussions at the European level. Polish ideas and experiences can be used as a baseline to develop new standards and procedures in other EU countries.