ESC: Shippers bear pollution, congestion costs
The European Shippers' Council said Tuesday that European Union ministers shouldn't be convinced to charge road tolls on trucks carrying heavy goods to pay for congestion, pollution and safety.
Advocates of such a plan have come out with amended version of an EU directive to be voted on Jan. 21. But ESC argues that such tolls won't achieve the desired goals, nor does it reflect the fact that cargo transporters pay their way, as stated in a recent EU-commissioned study.
'Those supporting the proposals to allow governments to integrate the costs of congestion, accidents, noise and air pollution into toll prices for heavy goods vehicles have launched an 11th hour report to persuade wavering MEPs that road freight is polluting, dangerous and not paying its way,' ESC said in a statement. But ESC rejects the claim. ESC does not propose to discredit the report on the basis that it might be biased or that those that have commissioned it, directly and indirectly, might be more comfortably disposed to the conclusions in the report that coincidentally support their policy positions.'
|van der Jagt|
The council is arguing that the issues cited in the report shouldn't fall unilaterally onto the shoulders of shippers and cargo transporters.
'ESC agrees that the issues cited by the report are very real issues and need to be addressed,' said Nicolette van der Jagt, ESC's Secretary General. 'But they should not be addressed through regulation that merely seeks to punish road freight operators and their customers with higher costs. They should be addressed by helping operators and their customers find ways of reducing their road freight transport requirements they do need, and thereby reducing emissions, fuel consumption and noise of the operations. The industry possesses already many of the answers, but we must help to develop these further and implement them.'
The latest proposals before the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee 'will raise costs of road freight transport, will not create a modal switch or significantly benefit the environment,' she said. 'Neither will they save lives on the roads or improve the health of people living close to roads. The real solutions can be found within the freight industry itself.' ' Eric Johnson