Lithuanian minister urges European countries to open their road haulage markets and remove existing restrictions

Date

2019 05 21

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In defence of interests of the Lithuanian carriers Mr. Rokas Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications urges European countries to open their road haulage markets and remove existing restrictions. The issue will be discussed at the Annual Summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) taking place in Leipzig (Germany) on 22–24 May 2019.

The ministers will discuss improvement of global connectivity and expansion of multilateral quota system created by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT). At present 43 European member countries are participating in the system. The countries are applying the Quality Charter adopted in 2016. It sets uniform qualification requirements for hauliers, drivers and vehicles aiming to ensure fair competition, to induce environmentally friendly and safe vehicles, and to liberalize carriage of goods.

“Lithuania considers the Quality Charter to be an essential document for the road market. A number of the ECMT member states have managed to fully implement the provisions of the Quality Charter in a sufficiently short time, thus underlining their willingness to open up the European freight market. Now it is time to take a decisive step in removing existing restrictions and territorial reservations. Otherwise, we cannot state we have achieved our objectives, as the existing restrictions and territorial reservations distort the ECMT multilateral quota system and hinder its further development resulting in step back, towards separation, rather than unification of ECMT area,”– said Mr. R. Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications.

According to the minister, protectionism is noticed in the Mobility Package that is under consideration in the European Union. It is suggested to enter provisions into this package that could push competitive road carriers out of the EU road transport market. “Taking into consideration that such proposals in Mobility Package are discussed without real impact assessment on the haulage market and the European economy in general, we believe they should be  reassessed by the new Commission and new European Parliament evaluating their consequences before proceeding with further discussions and implementation, as in the long term we aim at creation of an international road system in Europe and beyond – open, sustainable and high quality,” – told minister R. Masiulis.

The minister invites the countries holding the ECMT reservations to set an aspirational date for the gradual withdrawal of territorial limitations for the other members of ECMT, laying the foundation for open and common multilateral quota system market, granting more freedom to haulage businesses as well as setting good practice for new countries to follow and to join the Quality Charter.

The annual ITF Summit held every May in Leipzig is the biggest international event of transport policy, where transport ministers from all over the world are discussing strategic issues with business leaders, scientists and representatives of international organizations. Some 1400 participants from more than 80 countries are usually received in the event.