Croatian Trucking Industry Worried Due to New Border Rules

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What effect will the tightening of borders have on the Croatian trucking industry?

Temporary suspensions of the Schengen rules, as well as stricter controls on other borders, are the reason for new tensions among Croatian trucking industry, which fears that such measures will affect its business and cause financial losses. The Croatian Chamber of Economy does not expect any dramatic delays, but its Office of Transportation expects a slowdown, particularly on the border with Serbia. However, new conditions will possibly lead to urgent negotiations about new prices of transport services, reports Vecernji List on January 24, 2016.

Branko Roglić, the owner of Orbico, one of the largest European distributors of consumer goods, says that in the period of low fuel prices truckers have made a profit, but now they will have to pay the price of a somewhat slower movement of goods. However, he points out that it is difficult at this time to quantify the negative effects. His company operates in 18 European Union member states and in Ukraine, with an annual turnover of about 1.7 billion euros, and predicts that the regime of stricter controls will be felt not only in western Europe, but also in its central and eastern part. However, he does not expect any significant rise in costs for his business group. “It is possible that truckers will now try to increase their prices due to the fact that transport will take longer than usual, which is then reflected in their driver costs. On the other hand, fuel is getting cheaper which should compensate for some of their loses”, says Roglić.

However, Association of Croatian Road Transport Industry expects a significant slowdown in freight and truck transportation. Its president Dragutin Kranjčec points out that truckers cannot prepare themselves to minimize the damage because they have no alternative. “They must adapt to new temporary border regimes, and we know how much time a driver can spend behind the wheel. Any slowdown reduces the driving time and results in losses. However, smaller enterprises are more flexible, so we can predict that the biggest burden will be borne by the larger trucking companies”, says Kranjčec.

The sector of transportation and storage accounts for approximately 60,000 employees in about 4,000 companies, with the total annual income of 30 billion kuna. Many of them have already experienced the new border regimes. Vice-president of their association Darko Vukadinović says that is nothing compared to the losses they expect in the future. “But we do not expect that the costs will be transferred to customers, which means that the burden of the new regime for the most part will be borne by truckers which will face losses. The biggest problems are expected in Western Europe”, says Vukadinović.

Some of the European trucking companies tried to come to an agreement with the European Union to make rules about the number of hours which the drivers are allowed to spend behind the wheel more flexible, due to more frequent controls on the roads. However, the European Union has decided against changing its strict rules.


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