The EU Mobility Package and its impact on international road transport
The EU Mobility Package covers the entire road transport acquis within the EU internal market. The Mobility Package has been divided into three sub-packages, and parts of the new provisions have already been in effect since 2017.
The EU Mobility Package for road traffic and the legislative changes that have now entered into force in Finland and are still in the process of being introduced aim to harmonise the social and market legislation on heavy road traffic and, at the same time, promote fair competition between EU Member States in the EU’s internal market.
On this page, we will explain the impact of the Mobility Package on international freight traffic from the freight forwarder’s and transport company’s perspective.
According to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the national implementation of the provisions will also entail amendments to the Finnish Acts on Transport Services, Posting Workers and Overload Fees. The changes will be introduced in stages in spring 2022.
Main changes to international freight transport in the EU brought about by the Mobility Package
The main changes affecting costs in connection with the implementation of the EU Mobility Package for road freight transport are listed below.
Drivers and transport companies
- Drivers engaged in international transport must be guaranteed the opportunity to return to their home or business premises every four weeks (without the driver’s express request).
- The driver and the pulling vehicle must return to their country of origin (the country where the vehicle is registered) every eight weeks.
- The driver must rest outside the vehicle (cabin) every two weeks. The transport company must provide staff facilities for this purpose.
- The transport company indicate drivers’ assignments in a dedicated interface for operators connected to the Internal Market Information System (IMI). Lorries crossing European borders must be manually registered in the system.
- Transport companies shall pay drivers at least the full minimum wage applicable in each Member State for the duration of their work.
- Border crossings must be registered in digital tachographs.
- Driver salaries will be subject to documentation requirements and manual registration with IMI until the new digital unit replaces the manual process by 20 August 2025.
- Carriers must be able to prove that they are active in the Member State in which they are registered.
- Changes to the regulation of driving time and rest periods (the changes have primarily been in force since 20 August 2020).
- International transport by light goods vehicles will be covered by driving time and rest period regulations starting 1 July 2026.
Cabotage and combined transport
- No more than three cabotage operations shall be carried out in any one country within a period of seven days. After this period, the pulling vehicle shall not arrive in that country for four days.
- Stricter rules on cabotage.
- The wages of cabotage and third country drivers shall be at the level of the country in which the transport is carried out.
- In the future, the same time and quantity restrictions will apply to combined transport, previously unlimited in terms of quantity in Finland, as for cabotage in its basic form.
Traficom’s listing of the Mobility Package regulations schedule
Already in force
20/08/2020 Changes to driving time and rest period regulations
20/8/2020 Registration of border crossing data (analogue tachographs)
Effective as of February 2022
2/2/2022 Registration of border crossing data (digital tachographs introduced after 1/5/2006 and first-generation smart tachographs introduced after 15/6/2019)
Legislation from 2023 onwards
21/8/2023 All new lorries and buses will be equipped with a second-generation smart tachograph
From the end of 2024 onwards: analogue tachographs for pulling vehicles and first-generation digital tachographs in international transport must be replaced by a second-generation smart tachograph
31/12/2024 working time monitoring period changes from 28 to 56 days
2025 first-generation smart tachograph (put into service after 15/6/2019) must be replaced by second-generation smart tachograph
1/7/2026 light goods vehicles in international transport (rating 2.5–3.5 t) must be equipped with a second-generation smart tachograph
The rise in the cost of international transport is inevitable
Uniform rules, better working conditions for drivers and fairer competition are the great objectives of the Mobility Package. For carriers and freight forwarders, the regulations’ entry into force comes at a difficult time as the COVID-19 pandemic is further destabilising the economy and the transport market while fuel and raw material prices and other operating costs are rising.
In addition to the Mobility Package, international transport is also affected by national legislation, which has been amended not only by the Mobility Package but also by the Government Programme. The legislative amendment, which entered into force at the same time as the Mobility Package, extended the responsibility of the transport client. Now, the transport client (forwarding company or transport company) can also be held liable for transport violations, such as improper loading (overload) or violation of driving and rest time regulations.
The entry into force of the Mobility Package will have a direct and indirect impact on the movement of freight within the internal market.
“The entire transport chain is facing turbulent times. The shortage of drivers has made the situation more difficult for a long time and, on the other hand, the shortage of components affects the available transport equipment. The supply routes for new lorries are blocked and there is even a shortage of spare parts,” says Matti Urmas, Managing Director of FREJA Transport & Logistics Oy.
However, FREJA Finland has been preparing for the effects of the Mobility Package for a long time and has long anticipated the impact of the new regulations on clients’ international transports. FREJA’s freight forwarding experts and skilled transport operators provide daily assistance in order to move goods optimally around Europe and the world.
“We have extremely good subcontractors and good contacts around Central Europe, our main business area. The rules of the Mobility Package will ensure the well-being and working conditions of drivers, the most important link in international road transport. It’s important to take responsibility for these things.”
Urmas notes that the new provisions in the Mobility Package make it even more important for clients to place their transport orders in good time.
“I believe that the continuation and maintenance of good and constructive cooperation will be of great importance in the implementation of this reform.
Improvements in drivers’ circumstances, rising wage and fuel costs and increased administration are the main factors affecting the structure of freight rates for international transport in the near future.
“Unfortunately, the entire cost structure of international transport is subject to great uncertainty and has a major impact on the price structure at very short notice.
All the factors mentioned in this article on the Mobility Package will increase capacity pressures, the need for transport arrangements and further increase costs.
Don’t hesitate to ask about the impact of the Mobility Package on your own international transport. You can find the contact details of all the FREJA employees here.
Cabotage and combined transport
According to Traficom’s definition, a cabotage operation is an internal transport operation carried out by a transport company not based in the country in question. In Finland, the current number of cabotage operations, three operations per week or, alternatively, one operation per three-day period – if the means of transport has arrived empty – remains unchanged.
Combined transport is a transport operation where, internationally within the EU, the initial or final part of the transport operation is carried out by rail or by water, where the total distance by road does not exceed 150 km as the crow flies from the end of the second mode of transport and the second mode of transport exceeds 100 km.
In the future, the same time and quantity restrictions will apply to combined transport, previously unlimited in terms of quantity in Finland, as for cabotage in its basic form.
More information on the EU Mobility Package
Trans.info publication of the transport and logistics industry (information on minimum wages for drivers in Germany and the Netherlands, for example)
Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications
Questions and answers on the EU Mobility Package on the EU website