What is the Macron Law?
The law obliges all international transport companies who transit or have their drivers working in France to pay their drivers the French minimum wage of €9.76 an hour. France introduced this law on the 1st of July 2016. However, it was unclear whether the French would be able to enforce this. The EU started an infringement process in June 2016 against France. The outcome is still unclear as to whether they will be able to overrule this law.
What will the impact be?
European express market will be the most affected. With loads to/from Italy, France, Spain or Portugal, our vans have to travel through France. For example, if a driver spends 9 hours in France this could add an extra €35 to the cost of the shipment as European van drivers do not receive €9.76 an hour. As of 1st January this year, the French police have the right to stop any international driver and request documentation that proves that they are paid the French minimum wage. Hauliers have had to register their drivers online with the French Ministry of Labour and appoint a French fiscal representative.
This could also has an effect on full load rates as many Eastern European hauliers do not pay their drivers 9.76 euros per hour. If they transit France in the future, they will be obliged to pay them this hourly rate for the time spent in France.
Some European Transport Ministers met in Paris in late January to discuss the “unlevel” playing field they believe exists in Europe. They say that Eastern European hauliers have an enormous competitive advantage over most Western European countries who have minimum wage restraints in place.
We will keep you all updated on any changes.
Theresa May Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
On Tuesday, Theresa May’s much anticipated speech provided a tiny bit of clarity on the UK’s plans to leave the EU and its single market. However, it fails to provide the details on how the government is going to go about achieving these plans. At the moment May has only told us what the UK is looking to get of Brexit, this doesn’t really help businesses since we don’t yet know if the EU will allow any of these things.
As a Freight Forwarding company we were saddened to hear that the UK would be looking to leave the ‘single’ market. Leaving the ‘single’ market means importing and exporting to and from Europe will become more complicated. Custom procedures will be introduced which increases the chance of delays. Many supply chains that rely heavily on Just in time delivery will have to rethink this strategy if their stock is coming from outside the EU. However, hearing that the UK would look to pursue a Free Trade Agreement with Europe softened the blow. The EU negotiators will not give the UK better access to the single market then a member of the EU otherwise other EU countries will follow.
The road freight industry relies heavily on foreign drivers especially those from the EU. Currently in the UK most drivers are from EU countries and with the freedom of movement expected to go we may see a scary shortage of drivers which will inevitably shoot up haulage costs. In order for the shortage to be avoided May will need to consider this problem when putting together the UK’s immigration policy. Her speech did not clarify on what type of immigration policy the UK would be pursing. One proposed by the leave campaign was a ‘points’ based system.
May talked about looking past the EU single market to countries like China, America and India the big economies of the world. Setting up trade deals with these powerhouses would work wonders for our economy. However we have to be careful that the trade deal benefits both parties otherwise more damage than good can be acquired. With Britain in a vulnerable position once we leave the EU, the PM has to be careful not to jump into any agreements. Again these trade agreements are just what Britain would like to happen, when putting this into reality the trade negotiations could easily breakdown.
Brexit was not something that Espace would have liked. However, it’s too late to go back now. Although, the PM’s speech did not give much detail on how the UK’s ‘wish list’ would be achieved, May’s plans for ‘tariff free and frictionless’ trade is one welcomed in the freight industry.
On the 2nd of January the first 200 container train departed from west railway station of Yiwu to start its 12,000Km 16 day journey the route running through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, before arriving in London.
The Rail link will allow for European freight forwarders and manufactures to deliver their goods between Europe and China for a cheaper price then using air transport and half the time as sea transport.
The China – UK Rail line is a part of China’s ‘New Silk road’ China is looking to connect the east of China to the west of Europe into one market. This covers 60 countries, 60% of GDP and 60% of the population in the world. This Market has the potential to generate $2.2 trillion in trade annually in 10 years.
The new rail link couldn’t come at a better time for Britain especially with Brexit and Theresa May announcing that the UK cannot expect to hold onto the bits of the EU which includes the single market. However, the question has to be asked will China take advantage of the UK’s vulnerability? The ‘New silk road’ will help strengthen China’s economic and political influence in Europe.
The EU commission has founded two Italian public schemes to help encourage the shift from road transport to rail and to sea. The schemes are aimed to help achieve environmental and transport objectives.
Marebonus has a budget of €138 million to help shift freight transport from road to sea. This will lead to less pollution and less traffic on the roads. Majority of the budget will go to shippers to help cover the cost of extra services and upgrading existing shipping routes.
The Rail Freight scheme
The EU is aiming to spend €255 million. The majority of this money will go to subsidising rail transport operators. This will bring down the prices of rail transport and make it more appealing to freight transport companies; this will lead to lower road congestions. Also, this scheme will help the EU lower carbon emissions since rail freight transport is less polluting alternative to road freight transport.
Read the Full EU press release here
This week we have seen a massive increase in European express enquiries for pre-Christmas deliveries. At the start of the week prices were pretty normal. As the week drew on and express operators were trying to position their vehicles to get their drivers home for Christmas, prices have soared as many European operators have been quoting jobs and factoring in running back home empty.
The skills for us to maintain our express prices at a reasonable level is to engage the right driver on the right job at the right time. Loading a foreign driver to deliver in the UK on 22nd / 23rd December will incur a high surcharge as there is no guarantee they will get a load back to their country of origin from the UK.
We look to back load as many UK drivers as we can for UK deliveries just before Christmas and as many foreign drivers as we can for European deliveries. Horses for courses. It’s not always easy getting the right driver in the right place but that’s our job and what we need to be doing for our customers. They rely on us to get the best deal for them by using our knowledge and supplier network.
We see this mad panic every year. It’s like people forget about Christmas and the fact that drivers need to get home too. The express transport market will get back to normal in the New Year and no doubt we will see a return to the madness again next year.
Don’t forget we are still offering a Money Back Guarantee on all European express van work. If we’re late, you don’t pay the rate. Still a few drivers to get home for Christmas so give us a call.
or call our express experts on 01543 412306