IRU slams EU road transport policy

Brussels, EU: European Union transport policy is failing to recognise “road transport’s irreplaceable role in as a resource efficient transport system” says the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

The new European Commission Transport Policy White Paper undermines the goal of achieving an integrated transport system and jeopardises the competitiveness of Europe’s transport system and economy, its says.

The union has also attacked the “inadequacy of actions designed to further green road transport which undermines its credibility”.

In a statement the IRU said its shares the European Commission’s goal but not its methods of achieving a resource efficient EU transport system, laid down in its Roadmap towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system as published in the Transport Policy White Paper.

Alexander Sakkers, president of the IRU EU Goods Transport Liaison Committee, says: “The road transport industry is fully committed to work with all other modes, the EU institutions, national governments, as well as vehicle and component manufacturers to further reduce its environmental footprint and to implement the co-modality principle introduced in 2006. However, the IRU strongly regrets the European Commission’s choice to promote a forced modal shift to other modes such as rail – which are simply not up to that task – despite previous recommendations of the European Parliament not to do so.”

He said: “the road transport industry opposes increases in taxes, duties and charges, aimed solely at road freight transport, which will be used to cross-subsidise other transport modes, without any economic, environmental or social benefit.”

“Promoting a forced modal shift policy for freight transport is misguided and will lead to a continued uni-modal approach instead of creating a resource efficient integrated transport system making each mode greener and more efficient. It should be noted that publicly owned railway holdings, which are also the largest road hauliers in Europe, cannot even shift the goods they carry themselves from road to rail. Resource efficient co-modality should be the target, but it cannot be achieved without the road transport sector.” the IRU says.

“A realistic acceptance of commercial road transport’s irreplaceable role in any competitive mobility chain and economy should lead to the identification of more concrete measures, based on the IRU’s 3i strategy for achieving sustainable development – innovation, incentives and infrastructure – to help make road transport even greener, as it provides and will continue to provide energy efficient transport solutions for short, medium and long distances, including beyond 300 km.”