If foreign companies carry out national transports in Austria regularly, this is called cabotage. A new study commissioned by the Federal Section of Transport in the Austrian Economic Chamber, AISÖ and the vida union clarifies the consequences for the first time: Thus the share of cabotage operations in Austria, based on the total share of inland transport in the federal territory, is about 20 percent.
“Furthermore we estimate that at least 3 percent of the Austrian domestic transports are illegal cabotage – a quite shocking figure,” the author of the study Prof. Sebastian Kummer, heading the Institute for Transport and Logistics of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, said at the presentation of the study at a press conference with Alexander Klacska, Chairman of the Federal Section of the Austrian Economic Chamber and Charles Delfs, Federal secretary in charge of road transport at vida.
The study assumes that approximately 10,000 transports are carried out by foreign companies instead of Austrian companies. This results in a loss for the state and the social security system of around EUR 500 million. In terms of employment this means more than 14,000 jobs are lost due to cabotage.
Klacska and Delfs presented a joint list of demands to curb illegal cabotage. Accordingly, a clear and uniform definition of “cabotage” is necessary on EU level. In addition, there should be a uniform, numbered control sheet for cabotage.
In this context Transport Minister Jörg Leichtfried urges for tougher action by the European Commission against illegal truck trips. “The number of unauthorised trips has increased in recent years and is increasingly causing difficulties for domestic carriers. Something is going horribly wrong,” he stressed in a press release.
The current regulation on cabotage provides that a foreign truck may only make three trips per week within Austria. However, this definition of cabotage is interpreted differently across the EU. The regulation is e.g. circumvent by not completely unloading the truck. Also regarding working conditions and social standards, there are different interpretations across Europe.