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The return obligation from the Mobility Package.

New rules from the Mobility Package come into effect in the Netherlands on the 2nd and 21st of February. One of the most controversial rules in the package is the mandatory return home: every eight weeks, trucks must drive back to the company's operations centre. Industry leaders warn that many trucks will drive back home empty. Therefore, we must deal with existing transport movements more smartly and transparently.

With the Mobility Package, the European Union aims to reduce the risk of unfair competition in the transport sector and to improve the conditions for truck drivers.

In 2020, the first rules from the Mobility Package came into effect. Since then, drivers must have been allowed to return home every three or four weeks.

Up to 2.5 billion extra truck kilometres

Even more rules come into effect this month. For example, parked drivers may now be checked for driving and resting times. An upcoming directive that is causing a lot of disturbance is the obligation for trucks to return. Many vehicles from Eastern European countries now only return to the country of registration once a year, or twice at the most.

This should be once every eight weeks, from now on. Research shows that this results in between 0.44 and 2.5 billion extra kilometres per year, including the consequences of the environmental impact. Additionally, companies, which already have a hard time finding equipment and drivers right now, are expected to face even more shortages.

Effectively using trucks that drive back empty

In Europe, about one in five trucks is driving with an empty trailer at the moment. Due to the new European rules, this number will only increase. This shows that transport movements should be managed in a much smarter way. How do we ensure that trucks which are required to return are still used? We can ensure this only by collaboration and digitization. Companies should use smart technology and must collectively gain insight into which carrier is located where. They should also know what capacity is available (capacity that is currently often not even considered).


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