With the new Mobility Package from the EU, the transport of cargo on the road will change dramatically. In extension, the new rules will also impact container logistics as we know it.

In July, the long-awaited Mobility Package was adopted by the European Parliament. Meaning that the new rules and regulations will now become a part of the lives of everyone in the transport sector – especially truck drivers. Something that might impact the important truck turnaround time.

But as it is with so many other things, when you make changes one place you start a ripple effect. Causing change somewhere else.

So, let’s have a look at what new rules and regulations we can find in the Mobility package, and what impact those will have on container logistics!

Are you already a Mobility Package expert? Then jump down to the section about the impact the new rules can have on container logistics.

Here is an overview of the new rules we will go through:

Minimum wages

Letterbox companies

Cabotage and cooling-off

Driving and rest


1. Minimum wages

All EU Member States have their own national minimum wage. Minimum wages, that differ widely across the continent.

Before the Mobility Package, truck drivers who drove internationally or cabotage transport would get paid at least the minimum wage set in the country where the firm, they’re employed at, and the vehicle is registered in.

Let’s, for example, take a Polish truck driver, who works for a Polish company. He is assigned a job at a German firm. Despite taking over an assignment for a German company, he would still be paid the minimum wage as set in Poland which is lower than the one in Germany.

On the other hand, a German truck driver would be paid the German minimum wage, doing the same task as the Polish driver.

How it will be

With the Mobility Package that won’t do anymore. Instead, a truck driver has to be paid at least the minimum wage fixed in the country where they carry out the transport service.

In other words, the Polish truck driver from above must be paid at least the German minimum wage when he carries out his transport service in Germany.

However, this rule won’t apply to transport operations where the vehicle is either registered in the country of origin or end destination. Transport in transit is also excluded from the rule.

The rule will be put into force in March 2022.


2. Letterbox companies

As of now, some road transport companies operate constantly outside their country of origin. These companies are often referred to as ‘Letterbox companies’. They will often reside in a country where they get e.g. tax advantages or can pay truck drivers a lower minimum wage – like we just read about above 👆

In an attempt to minimize fraud in the transport sector, the Mobility Package demands that all road transport companies prove that they have work activities in the Member State they’re registered in.

Return home

If we put our Polish truck driver on yet another trip around Europe this rule will also have an impact on his routine.

Because this rule requires, among other things, that every eight weeks the truck returns to the country the vehicle is registered in.

On the other hand, our Polish truck driver has to get back to Poland every three or four weeks. This to avoid that the companies constantly operate outside of the country of origin.

The rule will be put into force in March 2022.


3. Cabotage and cooling-off

As the rules are now, the cabotage legislation is the following: Our Polish truck driver is allowed to do three operations in seven days.

With the Mobility Package, the limits on cabotage will stay the same. However, the Polish truck driver will have to do a cooling-off period before he does cabotage driving again. This cooling-off period is four days. After that, the driver can again do cabotage operations within the same country with the same truck.

If our truck driver is doing international transport in a vehicle that has a maximum authorized mass between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes, the vehicle is required to have a tachograph. This way, it’s possible to monitor the movements of the vehicle.

The rule for the cooling-off period will be put into force from March 2022. The tachographs must be installed by June 2022.


4. Driving and rest times

The weekly rest periods for truck drivers will also change with the Mobility Package. The new rules will relax current regulations.

As it was before the Mobility package our Polish truck driver would have to have an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week. That will change.

Instead, with the new rules, he will now be able to reduce this to 24 hours every other week. However, if our Polish friend decides to do that he will have to have at least four weekly rest periods. Two of them have to have a normal length of 11 hours.

The rule will come into force in September 2020.

Impact on container logistics?

There is no getting around that road transport and container logistics are closely related. So, when changes are made in one area it will affect the other. That is also the case with the new Mobility Package.

Many of the larger export and import markets in the EU make up North and West Europe. These are also the countries that on average have a higher minimum wage compared to Southern and Eastern Europe.

With the new legislation on minimum wages, more truck drivers will be paid a higher salary. That will in turn increase the prices for having cargo transported by road. This price increase will be sent down the logistics chain, changing the pricing level as we know it today. It is still unknown exactly who will be paying the increased prices but a qualified guess would be the end consumer.

Another place where the new regulations stand to make changes is with the partners you have in your supply chain. Let’s take our Polish truck driver on one last trip. As he will have to go back to the country of origin more often, he will be less available to transport cargo where he usually does. The same goes for his colleagues. For the shipping industry that means there might be a need to look for new partners to get your cargo transported in time.

As many of the new regulations will come into effect in 1,5 years it is still unknown exactly how big an influence the Package will have. It is, however, certain that it will be felt in the industry.

We would love to hear your take on this new Mobility Package. How do you think the Mobility Package will impact the maritime shipping industry and container logistics in Europe?