An increasing number of European countries are considering banning drivers from unloading and loading goods. For nearly two years, such a ban has been in place in Portugal, for example, and since September 2022, a royal decree has also introduced a similar ban in Spain.
Today, the French Ministry of Transport is also considering similar legislation. This is one of the topics within the negotiation package related to improving the work of drivers. “We are in favour of better legal regulation of the conditions under which loading and unloading operations are carried out” – says Jean-Marc RIVERA, general delegate of the French transport organisation OTRE, which has been fighting for better working conditions in the transport sector for years.
The topic is not new, as with a shortage of drivers in Europe, freight organizations and transport ministers are considering how to improve driver comfort. The situation is dramatic, because last summer, for example, the UK government had to ask for help from the military to distribute food and medicine. Unfortunately, it is still common to see drivers on unloading docks supporting – against their duties – the work of the warehouse. This is indicated by a recent study by the Truckers Life Foundation, which looked at the working conditions of Polish drivers, and Poland, as is well known, is a leader in European trucking.
Transportation companies and large multinationals have formed the Trucking Collaborative Platform, which wants to develop standards for driver service. BMW Group, IKEA Supply AG, and Scania and Volkswagen, among others, have joined the platform. But it’s also about changes at the legal level. The aforementioned French transport organization OTRE Ile-de-France is negotiating with the government to introduce penalties for shippers for downtime at loading docks. French carriers would also like to see the loading, chocking, securing, lashing, and unloading of goods to be the responsibility of shippers/consignees and carried out under their responsibility.