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C.A.S.H. - C.A.S.H. Brussels dissemination event joined together over 50 high level logistics experts to discuss future of European road freight transport

The C.A.S.H. Project organized the third and final Brussels dissemination event on 21 June 2012. The C.A.S.H. event joined together over 50 high level logistics experts including policymakers, law enforcement and industry representatives to discuss and exchange views on the future of the European road freight transport and safety issues in relation to the High Level Group's report issued the day before by the Commission.

The aim of the work of the High Level Group (HLG) set by the Vice-President of the Commission and Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas was to assess to which extent the necessary framework conditions for the full opening and integration of the EU market have been achieved and find out what are the remaining obstacles that need to be tackled. The HLG had executed hearings and consultations with 126 stakeholder organizations. As an overall assessment the Group recommended a gradual opening of EU road haulage market and gave recommendations relating to four fields including driver shortages, enforcement, cabotage and innovation.

Views of policymakers, law enforcement and interest groups on European road freight transport and safety issues

In the event, the policymakers from the European Parliament and Commission emphasized that the transport sector is vital for Europe. They stated that the role of the road freight transport is slowly increasing in the European agenda and it is gradually recognized as crucial for the European economy.

Also the view of the law enforcement was heard. According to TISPOL, it is important to realize that changes in the market situation immediately affect the behaviour of the sector and strongly influence the enforcement. The harmonization should to be brought firmer on the agenda. The differences (e.g. in sanctions) are simply too big in the common market. The TISPOL proposes that focus should be on companies that have bad behaviour and fraud as a policy. The C.A.S.H. partner from Hamburg Waterways Police, Chief Inspector Roland Gildemeister presented some of the results achieved so far in the project. During C.A.S.H. project period 2009-2012, up to 100 persons have taken part in the Staff Exchange and over 15 Joint Exercises has been organized.

Also interest groups and academia was given the floor. According to International Road Transport Union, the HLG report succeeds in discussing some of the major concerns and issues which are currently ongoing in the road freight transport industry. However, it is important that any suggestions made should facilitate growth. C.A.S.H. Project Director Professor Lauri Ojala presented tentative findings of the 2012 C.A.S.H. survey which contained 173 road police officers' responses from eight BSR countries. According to the findings, the most problematic areas of enforcement in roadside controls include vehicle, cargo and driver documents, especially for foreign carriers and drivers. The enforcement of rules on cabotage traffic was seen particularly difficult. Speeding and the use of alcohol were deemed relatively easy to enforce, as here the regulations and enforcements means are clear.

C.A.S.H. Communication 1/2012 on maintaining and improving Competent Authorities' capacity to enforce regulations on heavy goods traffic was released at the event. According to the C.A.S.H. policy recommendations, strong, skilled and motivated organizational units within Competent Authorities are required to maintain compatible, transparent and efficient enforcement practices. The international evidence is clear: specialized national or state-wide organizational units can best manage the required capacity and performance to enforce the increasingly demanding regulations on road freight transport effectively and in a harmonized manner. They provide this public service at the lowest societal cost and highest benefit for all key stakeholders, including the serious operators within the road freight industry, shippers and other road users.

C.A.S.H. Project's recommendations available later this year

The C.A.S.H. Project will end in early September 2012. Since 2009, the C.A.S.H. Project has enhanced knowledge of working methods and created operational networks for police authorities. By the Sept 2012, the Project have organized many Staff Exchanges and workshops as well as around 15 Joint Exercises which have brought together over 500 police authorities from the C.A.S.H. countries to exchange views e.g. driving and resting hours, tachograph issues, cargo securing, special transports, vehicle weight compliance, dangerous goods, vehicles technical condition as well as vehicle identification. In addition, the C.A.S.H. Project has aimed at harmonizing training contents for competent authorities and increasing understanding of driver behavior.

In the field of equipment testing, the C.A.S.H. Project has produced recommendations for procurement of equipment based on mutual testing and worked for better understanding of risk analysis in road freight safety work. The Project has also strived for better understanding of the impact of market structure on safety and security by publishing joint reports with the universities around the Baltic Sea. The C.A.S.H. Project has also issued other publications (notes) relating to e.g. driving behaviour, traffic safety and attitudes of drivers in border crossing heavy goods transport as well as police officers' views on traffic law enforcement and safety risks of HGVs.

The main results of the C.A.S.H. Project will be discussed in the recommendations the Project is preparing later this year.

Please find more detailed statements given in the C.A.S.H. Brussels event, the presentations of the speakers as well as the C.A.S.H. Communication 1/2012 on the C.A.S.H. website

published 10.08.2012