Overall, the EU’s Greener Transport Package has been welcomed by hauliers. However, there are some minor concerns surrounding the deadlines that have been proposed, as well as the infrastructure for alternative fuels.
A Better Plan Than Before
The previous greener transport plan is now a decade old, and Raluca Marian, the IRU director of EU advocacy, says that this is a far more ambitious plan. She said: “This proposal offers serious opportunities to road goods transport companies to improve their operational efficiency, optimise the load factor and, therefore, reduce fuel consumption and emissions for both zero-emission and traditional fleets.”
Ralf-Charley Schultze, who is the President of UIRR, feels that there is a unique opportunity here, provided that the plan could be twinned with a sustainable model. He suggests it would give the haulage industry a chance to develop a holistic approach. He said, “When it comes to inland freight transportation, the greening challenge has a single affordable, low-risk, and high-efficiency solution, which is door-to-door combined transport.”
Concerns Over Timeline
However, there are some concerns, especially when it comes to some of the key deadlines. From 2035, the plan limits traditional vehicle combinations in internal transport, and there appears to be no flexibility on this timeline. One member of the industry said, “Today, the maximum authorised weight of a standard vehicle combination used for cross-border intra-EU operations is 40 tonnes. The proposal says that where neighbouring member states allow a maximum authorised weight of 44 tonnes for national operations, they cannot reject 44 tonnes as a maximum authorised weight for cross-border operations to and from their territory.”
The Proposed Plans
From 2035, only zero-emission vehicles over 40 tonnes will be able to cross borders. This is where concern has arisen. The lack of ability for all vehicles over 40 tonnes to cross borders after this date will impact small to medium businesses the most. They feel that be announced plans to create an infrastructure for alternative fuels aren’t good enough to prevent this impact on heavier vehicles. By the end of 2025, the plan has suggested that an electric vehicle charging infrastructure specifically for heavy vehicles has to be in place on 15% of the total length of the TEN-T network, appearing every 120 km.
Can We Make the Target?
In the core of the network, charging points must be available every 60 km and on the comprehensive network every 100 km. However, there have been some questions over the real-world issues of making this happen, and now there is no room to move with the overall 100% target being required for 2030.Ms Marian said: “Without sufficient electrical power, HGVs will not be able to rely on charging infrastructure; this rule change, therefore, fails to address the electricity grid component of alternative fuels infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles.” Which is obviously a cause for concern.