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TEN-T: IRU and ETF call on EU member states to be more focused on sector
EU | Brussels

TEN-T: IRU and ETF call on EU member states to be more focused on sector

17 Nov 2022 · Prosperity

EU road social partners IRU and ETF consider the ongoing revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation to be vital for the EU’s transport system, particularly for the road sector. Member states agreeing to pragmatic and timely solutions will be key. 

The lack of sufficient safe and secure parking areas – only 3% of parking places in the EU are certified as safe and secure – limits the profession’s appeal, preventing the sector from attracting new drivers, which it desperately needs. 

Road transport operators’ access to existing multimodal freight terminals and passenger hubs should also be improved to enhance modal complementarity and horizontal cooperation. Furthermore, the availability of alternative fuels infrastructure should be guaranteed. 

Failing to address these issues makes it very challenging for the industry to guarantee drivers the adequate facilities that they need to work under decent and safe conditions. It also does not adequately support the decarbonisation of EU transport.  

The TEN-T Regulation is meant to address these critical issues. But the current perspective of member states, which shies away from committing to firm deadlines and solutions, fails to meet the urgency and scope of the challenge. IRU and ETF appreciate the efforts of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council to reach a common position before the end of the year. But the new TEN-T Regulation must be more ambitious.

Safe and secure parking key to industry woes

The sector calls for a full network of safe and secure truck parking areas on the TEN-T’s core and extended core network by 2035 and on its comprehensive network by 2040. Intermediate deadlines should be set for as early as 2027. 

Some 100,000 parking spots are missing in the EU, while very few are certified as safe and secure. This negatively affects drivers’ rest time and even their wellbeing, and, by extension, driver safety and the attractiveness of the profession.

The EU’s road transport sector currently lacks over 400,000 drivers, which will more than double by 2026. Everything possible should be done to make the driver profession more attractive.

To keep the economy moving, member states cannot afford to not have deadlines, or even to wait until 2050, as proposed by the European Commission, without ensuring that a proper network of parking areas is established as a matter of urgency.

Multimodal freight terminals and passenger hubs in urban nodes 

Improving the accessibility of the existing network of terminals and hubs on the TEN-T should encourage multimodal transport in the short term.

In the medium and long term, the revision of the TEN-T Regulation can incentivise the construction of new terminals and hubs.

Although the sector needs more ambitious deadlines than even those originally proposed by the European Commission, member states’ discussions have further diluted the Commission’s proposal.

Additionally, deadlines for building the infrastructure required to charge electric vehicles in terminals and hubs around urban nodes should be fully synchronised with the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). Deadlines should also be set for the development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in terminals and hubs.

Over 75% of total inland freight transport are carried by road in Europe. This figure has only increased over decades. Similarly, collective passenger transport by road (i.e. buses and long-distance coaches) is the second most used form of transport within the EU after private passenger cars. The European Commission estimates that commercial passenger transport will increase by more than 40% by 2050.

Given the role of road transport in the mobility of goods and people in the EU and the forecasted increase in demand, the EU’s environmental and safety policy objectives cannot be achieved without investment in all modes of transport, including the road transport sector.

17 Nov 2022
Advocacy, Goods transport, Trade facilitation and transit