FREIGHT TRANSPORT & COVID-19: EUROPEAN ORIENTATIONS FOR ENSURING THE FLOW The European Commission is working on the guidelines for gradual lifting of the confinement rules in the freight sector, which are consistent with those delivered in March and that are meant to ensure undisrupted circulation of goods all over the EU territory by using priority lanes.

Waiting for those new guidelines to be issued by the Commission, aimed this time to support economy and sales getting back on track, while focusing on containing the outbreak and in consistency with the health challenges, we propose you here below review on the practical guidelines delivered by the European Executive lately.


DEROGATION FROM MOVEMENT REGULATIONS FOR TRANSPORTERS


The European Commission has recommended to the State Members to derogate from certain rules, namely those regarding the movement restrictions and mandatory placement under quarantine, as a relief measure for the workers in the transport sector.

The Commission also recommended that the administrative formalities regarding the work force in the transport sector are eased.

An internationally recognized certificate of professional competence should be considered sufficient to prove that a worker is active in international transport.
In the absence of such a certificate (as not all the international drivers hold one) a letter signed by the employer should suffice.

Finally, the Commission advised that health and safety of transport workers is ensured by reinforcing hygiene and operational measures in all airports, ports, train stations and other land transport hubs.


BORDER CROSSING POINTS FOR GREEN LANES


In order to ensure unobstructed flow of the supply chains at the level of the EU, member States have been asked to designate the relevant internal border-crossing points of the TEN-T as “green lane” border crossings. Such “green lane” border crossings are to be opened to all freight vehicles (all heavy and light duty vehicles) irrespective of the type of goods carried.

As part of the overall effort to smooth freight flows by minimizing procedures to be performed at the “green lane” border crossings, member States have been advised that checks and health screenings are limited to maximum 15 minutes. Moreover, drivers should not be asked to produce any other documents than their ID and driving licence and, as appropriate, a standard letter issued by their employer (electronic submission / display accepted) and that without leaving the vehicle during such check.


INCREASED COOPERATION BETWEEN EU MEMBER STATES AND BEYOND


The European Commission has implemented a national contact-points network and a platform in order to provide information about the measures undertaken by Member States impacting on transports as a response to the coronavirus epidemic.

First of all, cooperation between states lays on the principle of non-discrimination. Therefore, all drivers and freight vehicles are to be treated in a non-discriminatory manner, regardless of the country of registration of the vehicle, origin and destination or of the nationality of the driver. Member States shall not distinguish between vehicles carrying goods for use in their territory and those merely transiting.

Member States should ensure on their territory, on the main transport routes, availability of adequate sanitary facilities and food supplies / catering for transport workers.

Member States have also been urged to set up safe passage transit corridors to allow health and transport workers as well as all EU citizens being repatriated. Such transit corridors should allow them to directly pass with priority through the country in each necessary direction along the TEN-T Network.

At the same time, the Commission has advised certain derogations from driving limits for heavy trucks. The derogations by country are available here.


REMARK:


In Romania, the Military Ordinances no. 4/2020 and 7/2020 lay down a series of conditions to be observed by drivers of vehicles whose maximum authorised weight over 2,4 tons.

Therefore, pursuant to the Ordinance no. 7/2020, drivers entering in Romania and who do not display symptoms associated with COVID 19 must fill in a declaration under sole responsibility (using the template provided by the Ministry of Transports and Infrastructure) whereby they indicate the place where they can be found between voyages. They do not have to abide by the confinement at home / quarantine measures (as the truck drivers of vehicles under 2,4 tons), conditional upon their employer’s providing individual protection material against COVID-19, as protection masks and hydro-alcoholic gel..

In the same way, drivers who travel for work related reasons from and towards another UE Member State, as residence State of the driver, even if travelling in the freight vehicle or by individual or personal means – they shall produce upon entering in Romania a certificate issued by their employer.

Drivers who are in transit through Romania must affix on the windshield of their vehicle a special self-sticking sign (provided by the State Inspectorate for Road Transport Control) and be in possession of the transit form. They shall not be asked to fill in an epidemiological statement if they observe certain measures, failure to comply therewith may result in being placed under 14 days quarantine:


-Using only the transit corridors and the border crossing points at the State border; moving outside these points is prohibited;
-Transiting the territory during a the shortest time lapse without exceeding 48 hours since entering into Romania, stationing for daily rest included;
-Stationing only inside the parking places on the transit corridors accordingly marked as such


The list of provisions to be observed by transporters in Romania:


-Tachograph driver card / licences / professional certificates


According to the Decision no. 1/2020 of the Emergency Committee of the Romanian Route Authority (in Romanian Hotărârea nr. 1/15.03.2020 a Celulei de Urgență a Autorității Rutiere Române - A.R.R.) all documents required for delivery of licences/ certificates/ certified copies / permits / proofs / tachograph driver cards / control documents / badges shall be sent via post services (all courier irrespective of the sender country), with acknowledgement receipt.


-Vehicle Periodic checks


No automatic extension during the state of emergency.


-Certificate of employment


This document must be issued by the employer and produced by the driver when needed, either on paper or electronically, according to the provisions laid down in the Military Ordinances no. 2 and 3/2020.


-Driving licence / identification card


When such documents are due for renewal during the state of emergency, their validity is automatically extended to cover such duration. Extension applications may be submitted within a 90-day term since termination of the state of emergency.

Other information on the measures undertaken by Romania in the sector of transport are also available here.