Erkrath, Germany, 2016-08-17 – The new EU regulation 2016/403 will be valid as of 1 January 2017. It is an extension of the existing regulation 1071/2009. That regulation made it possible to dispute the good repute of freight forwarders in the event of repeated and serious traffic infringements. However, individual member states had too much ample scoper for interpretation of the regulation, and there was no unified application across all EU member states. In Germany, for example, a very few freight forwarders were "closed down" for repeated infringements. The new regulation is stricter and designed to introduce unity of penalties for serious infringements. The precise regulation name is "Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/403 of 18 March 2016 supplementing Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the classification of serious infringements of the Union rules, which may lead to the loss of good repute by the road transport operator, and amending Annex III to Directive 2006/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council".
Individual EU States must catch up
This regulation expands the list of "deadly sins" from regulation 1071. These are infringements that, if repeated (within 5 years) can lead to loss of good repute. Even though the regulation is half a year away from implementation, it is already having an effect. All infringements dated 1 January 2016 or later will be taken into account during evaluation. That is the theory. However, practical implementation in the past has shown that, in Germany and most other member states, each individual infringement will be penalised as usual. A collection of infringements in accordance with the new regulation was previously practically unheard of. The new adjustments to fine categories listed in the regulation, to be introduced in 2017, have not yet been passed into law in Germany.
The appendix of the new regulation provides a detailed list , that is separated into serious infringements, very serious infringements and most serious infringements. In addition to the category, type, and seriousness, the appendix lists the number of infringements required after which serious and more serious infringements will be regarded as most serious, taking into account the number of drivers in the company. In the event of repeated infringements, the freight forwarder's transport manager will be held accountable, however, only in the event that all infringements were registered as required by the fining agency.
TimoCom: Unification is a good thing, however...
The transport manager of a freight forwarder, the "holder of professional suitability", is usually the managing director themself. The managing director's licence may be taken away, a licence required to run the company. Brussels believes that the regulation will eliminate black sheep among the profession.
TimoCom, the largest transport platform in Europe, could not agree more. Chief Representative Marcel Frings is generally pleased that the regulation is being unified throughout the EU, nevertheless, also believes that the laws still need adjustment: "In a common economic area such as the European Union, decisions that lead to an alignment of differing competitive conditions must be viewed positively. However, this regulation list of infringements committed by the driver can neither the transport company nor the transport manager control. In our opinion, these infringements cannot be the argument to revoke a company's licence."
The regulation can be found here. Scroll down to view a list of all potential infringements. The infringements included are not related to traffic offences, but rather formal errors regarding missing driver attestations or permission for regular services. Experts regard this as a disadvantage to the industry, particularly as compared to other professional groups.