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Eastern Europe Regional Sector Meeting

>On 27/04/2023 in Gdańsk, ECG in partnership with Prilo and Rolfo hosted the first meeting of the Eastern Europe Sector. This was the biggest regional meeting ever and here’s how it turned out!

What is ECG?

Our industry is full of acronyms that are sometimes hard to decipher. So to start with, what even is ECG?

ECG is an acronym for the Association of European Vehicle Logistics, which gathers over 140 companies and partners, from family owned SMEs to multi-nationals, all across Europe. The Assiociation is the voice of the Finished Vehicle Logistics industry in Europe since 1997. It represents all transport modes at EU level – road, rail, maritime and fluvial.

ECG Members provide transport, distribution, storage, preparation and post-production services to manufacturers, importers, car rental companies and vehicle leasing operators.

ECG also has numerous partner organisations that are suppliers to the industry and include trailer manufacturers, IT companies and inspection companies.

In short, ECG is one of the most important organizations for FVL sector in Europe.

Regional Meeting in Prilo print

As one of the sponors for the event, we took it upon ourselves to brand this regional meeting in full Prilo colours. Our pop up stand, media wall and rollups easily guided our guests to the conference hall in Hotel Sadova on Thursday, April 27th.

„When you’re hungry, you’re just not yourself

And, when you’re not yourself, it has a real impact on your ability to remain part of the pack.” A Snickers marketing campaign once taught us that, remember?

In line of that thought, the unofficial launch of the meeting was held in the Sadova Restaurant at a social lunch, where our guests could get to know each other better and relax before the start of our conference.

Eastern Europe in a slump?

Launching off the first regional meeting of the year, Chairman Krzysztof Szeligowski, gave an overview of the most important figures and how they changed in the course of the past year.  

For instance, in comparison to January-December 2021, last year only Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria and Slovakia noted an increase in new passanger car registrations. The rest of Europe is in a visible slump.

The future of FVL is Prilo

As always, our Product Owner, Marcin Koziak, was the one to share the idea behind Prilo with the guests at this ECG Regional Meeting. During his presentation, Marcin talked about how the vehicle logistics sector is still in a grip of endless emails and phone calls that eat away the time of every logictics operator.

380 mln hours per year are spent handling paper transport documentation

Dealing with a never-ending stream of emails can be overwhelming and make it easy to miss out on important opportunities. Prilo is not just a platform to get new loads from – it can also make the work life easier and more efficient for operations managers in logistics companies.

Here’s what you can expect when you use Prilo for your operations management:

  • Easily sort available loads by country, availability date, delivery deadline or carrier
  • A clean and intuitive interface that won’t leave you feeling lost
  • Search by order status for quick access to past or currently processing orders
  • In-platform chat communication with everyone involved in your deals
  • Real-time load tracking
  • All order details, carrier info, files and documents in one place

No need to add to your daily workload – using Prilo you can make your entire operations team more productive.

But the main focus of Marcin’s presentation was the upcoming eCMR revolution that sooner or later will have to be implemented in all logistics companies. Isn’t it better to get used to it slowly over time than all at once when the mandate will come from the EU?

The plans to introduce mandatory electronic consignment notes are still in the works, since government approved API must be created and be fully operational for every country enforcing the use of eCMR. This will join the government organizations, such as police, administration, road inspection and other eCMR providers with eCMR Solution Provider – in this case Prilo.

During his presentation, Marcin showed us how the process of issuing the eCMR and here’s the key points:

  • No peper documents associated with transport
  • Immediate information about events to all interested parties
  • Photo attachments
  • Downloadable to PDF

This is a solution that not many companies are using just yet, but we’ve already heard voices from those that do that the process completely changed the way their companies operate.

The access to information and how fast we can react to new updates is crucial in logistics – eCMR is here to help with that. With Prilo you can learn the first steps of implementing the process in your company before the mandatory eCMR will be introduced in EU.

Full guidelines for paperless logistics are to be formulated by August 2023. The date for complete replacement of paper CMRs with eCMRs is year 2025.

Where does it hurt the most for FVL

The biggest portion of the meeting was dedicated to the updates on the regional market situation in Central and Eastern Europe. Andreea Serbu, ECG Senior Manager External Affairs, presented us with the biggest issues the FVL sector is struggling with at this time.

The most impact on logistics and automotive industries have:

  • the usual capacity problems,
  • following with driver shortage
  • and mobility package.

When it comes to capacity, a direct solution to increasing it would be to buy new trucks. But, as we’ve heard during the meeting, there is now a problem with that as well. The rapid increase in demand elongated the waiting process and thus, created a delay in buying and registering new trucks. Ordering a new truck now, delivery date can vary from the end of 2024 to mid 2025. Which, ultimately, only adds to the capacity issues FVL is facing.

The ongoing driver shortage caused by the retirement of older drivers, troubles with teaching new ones and overcomplicated examination process for the driver’s licence is something the entire vehicle logistics industry is facing at this time. Good news is that Eastern Europe seems to be only lightly affected by this. The Russian war on Ukraine temporarily eliminated two big Eastern routes from the regional logictics service – the drivers who had been left without their directions of choice have turned to other routes in search for replacement work. Additionally, drivers that previously carried cargo other than cars have also begun to search for better paid jobs, often choosing vehicle logistics as an alternative. This created an influx of available drivers in the nearby markets, ensuring that Eastern Europe does not suffer from the driver shortage at the present time.

Once the situation in Ukraine settles and everything returns back to normal, Eastern Europe may face the same crisis that the rest of Europe is dealing with now. But that matter is still a problem for the future.

Not a problem of the future, but a crucial matter of the present is the mobility package. Many in the FVL sector are not too happy about the new changes it introduces. Mobility package requires new workplaces to be created, new people to be hired, but it also means new rules to be implemented – and all that takes precedence over the most important issues for vehicle logistics. Many feel that it is unfair to pay attention to that over things like empty miles, trucks returning empty, green goals and others.

Transport is a shared competency

That’s something that Andreea said during the meeting and it really hit the mark for us. Because it is indeed true that trying to do business in the logistics industry all alone is never going to work. Our job is based on contacts with other people, on sharing the same goal and working towards it. We are responsible for our own field, but also for the completion of the final order and the customer’s satisfaction.

So, in truth, transport is a competency we share between us and it only depends on us how well our partnership will go. The same goes for fixing the issues we’ve dealing with: if we can join together to solve them, we can overcome the obstacles currently blocking the FVL sector.

A similar meaning can be attatched to influencing laws, e.g. mobility package. If we choose representatives that value the same things we do, we can influence what laws EU passes and how they will benefit the future of FVL sector.

If car transporters… choose Rolfo

The other sponsor of this regional meeting, Rolfo, is a world leader in manufacturing equipment for transporting vehicles. It specializes in the production of transporters – their line consists of transporters especially equipped to safely transport general cars, collection and sports cars, road tractors, cruisers, farm tractors, off-road vehicles, SUVs and all other kinds of commercial vehicles.

During their presentation, Diana Chikmareva from Rolfo showed us a preview of their two brand new models of transporters.

Last but not least

On behalf of ECG, Andreea gave an update about general happenings in ECG: their Working Groups, upcoming events, education opportunities, and future dates and venues of next meetings.

Among the most important matters ECG is currently working on is the publication of the first Finished Vehicle Logistics cost index and its updates in the coming years, emissions reporting standardisation and revision of the FVL forecast methodology.

A directive with an update on weights and dimensions of loaded transporters is also a key issue ECG is keeping an eye on. The goal of this directive is harmonization of loaded length of transporters to at least 20.75m all over Europe. The matter is especially important at the borders between counties with different loaded length dimensions – harmonization is meant to equalize the dimensions. This will help to avoid fines and additional paperwork.

A proposal for this is expected to be introduced in June.

Updates on the progress of these will be given during the next General Assembly & Spring Congress taking place in Thessaloniki on 2023 May 11-12.

Visit to Port Gdansk

Gdańsk had been chosen as the meeting place for many reasons, but one of them was the close vicinity to port Gdańsk. With storage capacity of 15 000 vehicles, unloading and loading going on 24/7 and almost 31 ha dedicated to this area, this port is one of the biggest vehicle logistics hubs in the Baltics.

Thanks to Adampol, a special trip to visit this port has been planned for the guests of our regional meeting.

Let’s raise a glass for a great time spent together!

After the tip, we returned by bus back to Sadova Hotel for a social dinner that was the perfect opportunity to network and relax with our newly met friends.

For Prilo, this has been a very important event that was almost entirely hosted and prepared by us alone. Is it a prelude to our very own conference later this year or perhaps sometime next year? Time can only tell 🙂

As of now, Prilo Team is preparing for a trip to Amsterdam, where we will take part in E.A.I.V.T. as one of the conference sponsors. Let’s meet there in June!