Freight News, Road

Help us face future challenges, says road union

[ September 17, 2019   //   ]

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) called on international organisations, governments and industry stakeholders to safeguard road transport in the face of myriad challenges, in its manifesto published on 17 September.

It said that the industry is beset by geopolitical unrest, climate change concerns, a chronic shortage of commercial drivers, issues surrounding digitalisation and a perceived poor working environment. According to a report published by IRU last year, geopolitical uncertainty is the biggest threat facing the industry for 57% of transport operators.

IRU says that while digitalisation has the potential to transform road transport, many parts of the sector have yet to adapt. IRU is calling on the industry to speed up digitalisation and go paperless. It also urges governments to increase the use of freight exchanges and fully digital TIR at borders.

In Europe, roughly one in five driver positions is currently unfilled and levels of both women and younger employees remain extremely low, IRU continues. The industry is still lacking basic infrastructure such as safe and secure truck parking areas.

It also notes that there is still some way to go before the heavy duty commercial road transport industry fully adopts alternative fuels, including natural gas or synthetic fuels and alternative powertrain solutions – such as electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology.

IRU is advocating efforts to accelerate the market uptake of high capacity vehicles and promote research into new approaches to commercial vehicle access in urban areas.

IRU secretary general, Umberto de Pretto, said: “The calls to action laid out in our manifesto are a clear signal to policymakers and to the road transport industry that there is work to be done. As the global voice of road transport, IRU is leading the charge and forging greater collaboration between industry stakeholders to implement the necessary legislation and infrastructure, and ensure the sector’s future success.”