Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 27 Jun 1979

Own-Account Transport and AETR Agreement.

This is a draft report in the area of the transport of perishable goods. This report examines a draft Council Directive on own-account carriage of goods between Member States and a draft Council decision on the amendment of a European Agreement, known as the AETR Agreement, concerning the work crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport and the question of the accession by the European Community to this agreement.

The Commission is seeking to have the proposed Directive implemented by 1 January 1980 so this is a matter which is quite likely to arise during the Irish Presidency. We received the views of the Confederation of Irish Industry, the Irish Road Haulage Association, the Irish Overseas Transport Association and CIE. In examining the proposals we explain what was meant by own-account transport because the proposed directive at paragraph 4 relates to own-account carriage of goods by road and this covers carriage in the operator's own vehicles of his own goods or goods handled in his business. Also the directive would treat a vehicle which is placed at the exclusive disposal of the operator for at least one year as being the operator's own vehicle. We point out that certain types of international own-account transport have already been liberalised within the Community by a 1962 Council Directive and that this new Directive would propose to oblige every Member State to exempt from all remaining quota and authorisation systems, all own-account carriage of goods which have a destination or place of origin on its territory or pass in transit across its territory.

Looking at the implications for Ireland at paragraph 5 we note that Ireland has already exempted all international transport on own-account from quota restrictions except in the case of transport carried out in accordance with the bilateral road transport agreement with France. There are, however, licences required for foreign owned vehicles engaged in own-account transport to or from Ireland and the adoption of this Directive will involve dropping the licensing requirement and also abolishing the remaining quota restrictions.

We note at paragraph 6 that the adoption of the Directive would not affect the rules governing transport within the State but that it would give rise to consideration of the desirability of different rules applying to national and international transport operations because in Ireland own-account transport is defined in section 112 of the Road Transport Act, 1944. It is not subject to any restriction but own-account operators cannot use hired or leased vehicles except when their own vehicles are under repair. The question arises then, if the Directive is adopted the carriage of goods between Member States in vehicles leased or hired to the operator for at least one year would be treated as own-account carriage of goods? There would have to be some consideration of applying the same system internally as under the Directive.

We then give the views of the Joint Committee and stated that we consider that the proposed Directive is in line with the objectives of the Treaty of Rome. We understand that, while over 80 per cent of trade routes do not at present have any restrictions on own-account carriage of goods, there are still 14 routes involving trade to or from Ireland which are subject to quota restrictions. We believe that the removal of these restrictions would benefit the country. It was represented to the Sub-Committee that the Directive should contain a provision similar to that governing national transport in the Transport Act, 1956, whereby the use of a vehicle hired for a short period to replace a vehicle undergoing repair would be permitted. It would not just be a question of having own-account transport where a vehicle was under repair but also where it was hired for a short period, not necessarily for 12 months. The Sub-Committee considered that this was a reasonable request and should be supported.

We accept the need for safeguarding against the possibility of abuse and that strict precautions are necessary to ensure that own account transport can be easily identified. The view of the Sub-Committee was that this was in line with the Treaty of Rome and with the Commission's proposals in this area. There was no objection from any sector to it. The only question arose out of the definition of own-account transport which is slightly different, at European level, from the Irish definition.

The second matter dealt with was the AETR Agreement. This concerns the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport. It prescribes that there be requirements for international journeys between Community countries and third countries which are contracting parties to the Agreement and that there be a code of practice in relation to this. This agreement has already been ratified by a number of European and Community countries. There is a provision that the AETR would cover the same field as the social legislation of the EEC regarding road transport. What we are doing is exporting our own standards elsewhere in Europe on an international level. The EEC rules are now part of Irish law and are being implemented here. These include the rules relating to the tachograph, the " spy-in-the-cab ". They are being implemented here over a phased period in accordance with our own statutory instruments. The latest statutory instrument is one regarding the installation and use of tachographs which was made by the Minister for Labour on 19 June 1979. We are basically seeking to extend this to international transport and providing the same conditions there. This would be desirable and is recommended to the Committee.

Paragraphs 1 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.

Draft Report agreed to.

Ordered: To report accordingly.

I should like to thank members of the Social Affairs Sub-Committee for the time put into preparing these reports. They are fairly technical and required the Sub-Committee members to read a considerable amount of detailed and technical proposals. They also had to look at submissions from the interest groups and consider the draft report.

I should like to compliment the members of the various sub-committees for the work they have done.

The Joint Committee adjourned at 4.40 p.m.