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INDUSTRY FOCUSROAD HAULAGE


Potential routes have been identified and


the coalition will now step up lobbying efforts with the local authorities. Indeed, for hauliers to truly reap the


benefits of such initiatives, their expansion will be vital. On the other side of the Atlantic, similar


European initiatives have fallen short because the scale of the corridors was not sufficient, or they did not link up; a heavy corridor with no onward connections can, quite literally, only get you so far. And this has been the case – large gaps in corridor networks mean hauliers in the countries that have started these initiatives often still have to contend with the long, bureaucratic process of obtaining permits. ESTA – the European association for the


abnormal road transport and mobile crane rental industry – has long called for the implementation of a network of heavy transport corridors. It is one way to simplify the issue of permits for exceptional transport, and would also reduce the amount of maintenance required for the upkeep of the roads and eradicate the cost of bridge inspections. Other focuses of ESTA include


harmonising the permitting procedures, marking and lighting regulations across Europe, and agreeing on rules and standards for escort vehicles. One of the main problems facing the


organisation, according to Iffet Türken, a board member at trailer manufacturer Kässbohrer and vice president of the transport section of ESTA, is that the needs of exceptional transport in Europe are too often ignored both by national governments and the authorities in Brussels.


Cooperation required Speaking in Amsterdam at the World Crane and Transport Summit during November, Türken told the 150-strong audience of senior industry executives that regulators, road authorities and heavy transport companies need to work together to make the industry safer and more efficient. She said: “Exceptional transport in


Europe is largely ‘in the dark’ but everyone involved with the industry should realise that all costs incurred in unnecessary red tape raise the price of European products on world markets.” To ESTA’s considerable frustration, many


of its concerns would – in theory at least – be easy and cheap to rectify, but it appears that the necessary changes do not happen because the heavy transport and abnormal load sector does not have the lobbying clout of some other industries.


122 January/February 2020


Holleman moving a cool box in Bulgaria.


An example is the proposal to harmonise


the marking and lighting regulations for abnormal loads across Europe. ESTA set up a cross-industry working


group led by Türken and section transport president André Friderici of Switzerland- based Friderici Spécial to study the different regulations in operation around Europe and produce its own recommendations. That report was published late last year and is now being presented to relevant organisations in an attempt to garner their support. Türken told the Amsterdam conference:


“The current situation is absolutely ridiculous. The rules for marking and lighting of abnormal transports are different in every EU country. This is perhaps not the most important topic, but a recurring and costly nuisance. Why does everyone want their own signs? And why is a side marking board in one country 50 cm x 50 cm and in another country 42.5 cm x 42.5 cm?” Türken also reeled off a list of other issues


that are hampering the European haulage industry, reducing efficiency and safety. “Rest time regulations are often


impossible to adhere to because of non-alignment with permitted driving periods and a lack of suitable parking places for exceptional transports on the routes we are forced to take. “Further still, every nation tries to


develop its own systems and there is no ‘best practice’ culture among civil servants.


Reinventing the wheel “For example, we have a few countries in Europe that have a well-designed and functioning electronic permitting systems,” Türken went on. “There are good examples in Sweden and the Netherlands. But every country wishing to introduce electronic permitting tries to reinvent the wheel. They are too proud – or stubborn – to go and talk to their colleagues in other countries. The result is a large waste of money and time and results in sub-optimal systems being developed that all have different standards.” One example can be seen in Switzerland,


where the authorities reportedly studied the systems used by their neighbours, but still decided to set up their own bespoke electronic permitting project. Türken concluded: “ESTA would be


The current situation is absolutely ridiculous. The rules for marking and lighting of abnormal transports are different in every EU country. – Iffet Türken, ESTA


delighted to provide a platform for regulators and transport authorities to come together and explore best practice and how they can work together for the benefit of all. But above all, we need our national authorities to talk to each other and commit themselves to the development of best practice.” Nevertheless, the abnormal road


transport industry should celebrate the wins when it can, and the developments across the Atlantic are cause for optimism. Local heavy hauliers will hope that this step forward is the first of many on the path to a simplified permitting process.


HLPFI www.heavyliftpfi.com


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