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Cabotage Regulations

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Snippet Contents:

While the Minister has set out his and the Department's position, it is worth noting that while the cabotage laws are in place, it is vital that we protect our haulage sector. As an island nation, we need to have indigenous road haulage operators in place. Operators in other countries, particularly in central Europe, can move trucks freely and, therefore, provide an adequate transportation service for the movement of goods. I am concerned that if our domestic operators end up going out of business because of this unfair competition, we may be left in a very negative position at a later stage. We depend so much on our haulage sector to export the goods that are so vital to our economy. Anything that could undermine the sector in the shorter term could only be damaging to future economic growth and activity.
The Minister will be aware that it is alleged by those who have a very clear view of what is going on that approximately 43% of foreign trucks entering the country engage in illegal haulage activity, as set out under the cabotage rules. We understand that there is really no enforcement of vehicle weights, dimensions and tachograph laws for the foreign operators who are plying their trade here. There is no doubt but that they have an unfair advantage over the domestic hauliers resulting in the displacement of the work in the trade.
I ask the Minister to utilise his position at Cabinet level to urge the Minister for Justice and Equality to make clear to the Garda Commissioner that while there are cabotage laws in place, they should be enforced to the full extent. The Minister is correct that domestic hauliers who travel to the United Kingdom are put under pressure and forced to recognise the laws there. We must level the playing pitch as best we can. I look forward to some action early in the new year by the Government in this regard.