Carriers blocking roads – our view on the matter

Since Germany has introduced a minimum wage rule on foreign truck drivers and France has prepared a similiar reform, Polish road transport carriers have began a protest, mainly by organizing road and border crossing blockades. How to find a way out of this situation? What to do if the regulations in Western Europe will be accpeted, and the efforts of the Polish government will not suffice? As a company that works with many road carriers we have decided to comment on this matter.

It is clear, that the changes in Germany will cause losses for our home companies, that employ drivers, as they will have to raise the wages, which in turn will lower their investing capabilities, and maybe even they will have to give up on freights that don’t bring sufficient income. Going further, the situation could cause massive layoffs, and contracts of Polish carriers will be taken over by the native country hauliers.

The driver’s point of view is also understandable, what they see in this whole situation is a chance for higher wages. Many of the drivers believe, that their employers should share the wealth and it wouldn’t be much of a burden for their budgets. The truth however is, that every extra cost translates into budget cut decisions, which is a result of main obligation of every company, to maintain profitability.

Let’s suppose, that the Polish government does not succeed in finding a solution which will restore the status quo from the previous years. What to do in such a case? In our opinion, two things should be considered.

The first thing that could satisfy both sides is the Polish government support. But why shoud the government support private companies with public money? The truth is, that the Polish road transport industry is a large branch of Polish business and at the same time a large tax payer. Another problem is, that the government cannot finance company losses, nor grant subsidies to remedy the same problem. The government support should cover investments, which will lower transportation costs. Of significant importance could be installing an LPG/CNG system on large trucks. Savings of 10-20% could cover a large portion of the losses. It should be noted, that such subsidies have not yet been proposed.

The second solution, which should occur when resolving this problem, should be a general change in the way of thinking of both employers and drivers. Assuming, that the minimum wage in Germany will be maintained, Polish companies will have to take action to accommodate to the new situation, regardless of whether the Polish authorities take any part in financing these changes or not. Company owners could accept the reality – in fact they will have to – and change their and their drivers’ mentality while restructuring their business. For example, employees receive higher wages and there is no room for maneuvering and fiddling around. But at the opposite end the way of thinking must also be turned around 180 degrees. Drivers, getting a much higher wages, must strive to drive economically and accept changes resulting from implementing LPG/CNG systems in their trucks. They must accept the dual fuel system, gas valve sensors, fuel probes, as well as Driver’s Assistant, which helps them with eco-driving. Such cooperation might become not only a solution to the current problem, but also a spark that ignites the start of new developments in Polish transport.

We must also recall one important issue. Currently in countries of the European Union all proecological activities are a priority. Installing an LPG/CNG system Polish road carriers receive something that the German or French carriers do not have, because their domestic regulations do not accept it. This way Poles can be competitive thanks to saving on fuel and at the same can lead the way in environmental protection. Additionaly, the Polish government could subsidize road carriers and solve another problem, which we have described in another article “Poland faces a 1 bilion Euro fine…”. The main conclusion that may be drawn from this situation is such, that the transport industry and government authorities can effectively solve current problems, and in the future even strenghten the market.

Poland faces a 1 bilion Euro fine
(source of article foto: carriers’ protest website