May 17, 2022

New road transport regulations pose challenges for the recycling industry

At the beginning of February, the most decisive part of the EU mobility package was implemented in Europe. The aim of the regulations is to solve the biggest challenges in the transport industry – first and foremost the working conditions of drivers. Other ambitions are to get rid of illegal transport and to create common rules for players in the transport sector.

One of the main objectives of the new mobility package is to control cabotage transport in Europe. One of the measures is that a foreign vehicle must always leave a transport country for a “cooling period” of at least 4 days after completing a mission. Another rule is that trucks must return to their home country every eight weeks, and drivers have the right to return to their home country every four weeks.

The EU mobility package also requires the driver to be allowed to rest outside the vehicle, at the expense of the employer. Most importantly, the driver’s salary should follow the salary level in the country where the transport is performed. In addition to this, there are also new requirements for the registration of international transport.

The CEO of resource management company Geminor, Kjetil Vikingstad, closely followed the introduction of the EU mobility package. He welcomes the new regulations – but not the timetable.

„Currently, the transport industry is affected by a dramatic shortage of drivers and vehicles across Europe. Additionally, fuel prices have skyrocketed, and if you add the challenges of COVID, trucking services become both scarce and expensive. In a way, it feels like going from a ‘perfect storm’ to a ‘perfect hurricane’ since these measures are being introduced at the worst possible time,” says Vikingstad.

For the WtE and recycling industries, more expensive transportation and reduced capacity is bad news.
„Waste fractions destined for energy recovery or material recycling are mainly sent as return transport, being a price-sensitive cargo. Although we see some improvements in the maritime transport market in Europe, neither maritime transport nor rail transport can meet the challenges of road transport,” says Vikingstad.

He believes that moving floor transport is not as badly affected as other truck transport. Baled waste transport is currently more exposed to increased competition for transport services.

If challenges within transportation persist, many waste market players will likely be forced to assess their operations, says Kjetil Vikingstad.

“Many players in the waste and recycling industry operate on a ‘just in time’ basis and therefore depend on accurate and predictable transportation services. Due to the current irregularities within logistics, storage capacity is gradually becoming more important for producers and buyers. One factor that can help ensure on-time deliveries is having access to raw materials from multiple markets,” says Vikingstad.

“The transport challenges we see today, which are increasing due to measures such as the EU mobility package, could ultimately lead us to more national repositories of waste resources and less export activity “, concludes Kjetil Vikingstad.