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Mobility Package 2022 – who is affected by changes in transport? 

When Poland joined the European Union in 2004, we agreed on a legal compromise and the development of common solutions for European countries. The actions cover so many areas that they have a direct impact on all spheres of life. The purpose of the Mobility Package, which is a set of regulations, is to implement the EU guidelines on international transport. As of February 2, a number of controversial changes became effective. How to find your way in the jungle of regulations that the Mobility Package entails? The fines for violations are really high! 

Changes introduced before February 2022  

Major changes, implemented before February 2022, include: 

  • The limitation of the drivers’ working time at night to 10 hours. 
  • The obligation to return to the place of residence for a weekly rest every four weeks. 
  • The extension of the daily working time in extraordinary circumstances. 
  • Inclusion of the period when the alternate driver remains in the passenger’s seat in the rest time. 
  • There are penalties for carriers who do not comply with the changes. 

The main assumption of the package is to improve the working conditions for drivers in all member states of the Community. This is to be achieved by increasing the scope of inspections of transport companies, and by pay rises for international transport employees, among other things. In theory, this is in contrast with the idea of a free market, but the assumption is to develop common European standards. The first amendments to the Polish regulations, resulting from the Mobility Package, came about in 2020 and were gradually introduced on the basis of the Regulations of the European Parliament No. 561/2006 and 165/2014. They led to: the limitation of the drivers’ working time at night to 10 hours, the obligation to return to the place of residence for a weekly rest every four weeks, the extension of the daily working time in extraordinary circumstances, and inclusion of the period when the alternate driver remains in the passenger’s seat in the rest time. These changes have an actual impact on the functioning of international transport, starting with logistic and administrative issues to the everyday work of drivers. Further obligations and limitations are effective as of February 2022. 

What changes with Mobility Package 2022? 

Key changes include: 

  • The tachographs of the second generation.  
  • The obligation to have a transport licence.  
  • The obligation to have an authorisation to pursue the profession for drivers of vehicles with GVW exceeding 2.5 tonnes.  
  • The financial insurance of vehicles. 
  • The registration of the registered office of a company dealing with transport.  
  • Carriers will have to store tachograph records from 56 days. 
  • Remuneration of drivers carrying out international transport. 
  • The carrier is obliged to notify the European system of posted drivers carrying out cabotage and cross-trade operations. 

The new regulations refer mostly to the issues of the remuneration of posted drivers, entries in the tachograph and cabotage. The business trips of drivers carrying out international transport cease to be treated as the performance of business tasks. It is worth mentioning that this does not apply to business trips in domestic transport. There will be more discrepancies between domestic and international transport of this type, as the EU regulations apply strictly to cross-border operations. 

Remuneration of drivers carrying out international transport 

Simply speaking: drivers performing cabotage and cross trade services must receive remuneration applicable for the employees of the state in which they are performing work. The calculation is to be based on the basic remuneration applicable to a foreign driver in a given member state of the European Union. If an employee carrying out transport goes, for example, through Germany, France and the Netherlands, their remuneration should correspond to German rates applicable for the route covered in Germany, French rates for the driving time in France, etc. Transit and bilateral transport are excluded from the regulations. Still, there are no clear guidelines on how to calculate remuneration, and there is a penalty stipulated for its underestimation. That is the main reason why the Mobility Package raises so many extreme emotions. 

Cabotage 

For clarity’s sake, the word ‘cabotage’ is derived from the name of an Italian sailor, John Cabot, who travelled between ports in the same country. Today cabotage transport is understood as the transport of goods between points of collection located in a country other than the country where the carrier runs its business activities. For example, a Polish driver transports a cargo from Poland to Dortmund and, after unloading, picks up other goods and transports them to Berlin. This eliminates empty mileage. According to new regulations, cabotage will require that the drivers return to the base in the country of the registered office of the carrier once every 8 weeks. One vehicle can carry out a maximum of 3 cabotage operations in 7 days in one member state of the European Union. The changes result from the temporary nature of cabotage operations and the increase in the work standards of drivers involved in international transport.  

Mandatory entry in the tachograph 

After crossing the state border, the driver is obliged to stop at the nearest stopping place and make the right entry in the tachograph with the designation of country which they have just entered. The entries can be made manually, but as of September 2025 the introduction of a new generation of tachographs (with automatic entries) will be mandatory. 

Transport company base 

The Mobility Package introduced a new definition of the operating base. The transport company base must have parking spaces corresponding to at least 1/3 of the fleet of vehicles. The regulation is quite simple: if the company has a fleet of 30 vehicles, the base should have at least 10 parking spaces. This is another aspect of raising standards.  

IMI System 

The carrier is obliged to notify the European system of posted drivers carrying out cabotage and cross-trade operations. Furthermore, the driver must have a copy of the notification with a unique QR code in order to facilitate inspection.   

Questions without answers – Mobility Package 2022 

The greatest controversies concern the drivers’ remuneration and the costs of running a transport company. 84% of respondents to the Inelo survey do not know how to calculate remuneration for the work of Polish drivers who perform work outside the borders of Poland. Professional drivers have been deprived of additional daily allowances. In many cases they will be compensated with the increase in basic remuneration. However, so far, they have not been subject to social insurance contributions, so they have not generated additional costs for the employer. Now the costs of keeping the employee will be higher, which does not necessarily mean an increase in remuneration. But this is not the end of the revolution. The changes included in the Mobility Package are spread in time till 2026.  

Mobility Package and transport of cars 

The obligations in the transport of cars are analogous to the ones for other transport companies. The drivers must record the when state borders have been crossed in the tachographs, make notifications in the IMI system and have remuneration adequate to the rates applicable in a given country. The problem may possibly refer to cabotage, e.g. when a company with its registered office in Poland has its fleet abroad. According to the Mobility Package, the vehicles can perform a limited number of cabotage operations and must return to Poland once every 8 weeks. The economic factor is also important. The Mobility Package leads to an increase in the costs of transporting cars, which leads to an increase in the prices of cars. The prices of vehicles have been systematically rising from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. This is caused by the limited availability of new cars, rising prices of raw materials and fuel. The transport of cars is another element shaping the final price of a car. This applies to both new cars from the showroom and used cars imported from abroad. 

Mobility Package: Changes in transport till 2026  

The tachographs of the second generation are not the only novelty the transport companies will have to deal with. As of May 2022, there will be the obligation to have a transport licence and an authorisation to pursue the profession for drivers of vehicles with GVW exceeding 2.5 tonnes. At the same time, regulations will enter into force with regard to the financial insurance of vehicles (EUR 1800 for the first vehicle) and the registration of the registered office of a company dealing with transport. As of the end of 2024, carriers will have to store tachograph records from 56 days (currently it is 28 days).  

Is Poland ready for the EU standards? 

What do you think of changes in international transport? Should all member states of the European Union have the same regulations? Owners of transport companies complain about their reduced competitiveness on the European market. We will keep you posted on other changes introduced by the Mobility Package. The key thing is to keep your head up (and your hands on the steering wheel), stay calm about the changes and prepare for them in advance. Particularly, as the assumptions of future changes are already known. 

Editors

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