• Comment on fuel price protests in the EU

    T&E comment o­n the fuel price protests in Europe.

    One reason why hauliers may be justified in protesting is the lack of a level competitive playing field in what is now a single transport market.  Firms operating in countries with low fuel taxation rates have a comparative advantage over their competitors in other Member States.  Of course this is frequently counterbalanced by lower taxation on staff costs, but this is less of a factor for the “owner-driver” sector of the market which has been at the forefront of the protests.

    The question remains, however, whether high fuel prices do in fact hit the road haulage industry hard.  Firstly the road freight industry has seen strong growth in the recent past.  Indeed the road freight sector has seen faster growth than the economy as a whole.  This is undesirable from an economic standpoint, as it results in the economy as a whole decreasing in efficiency.

    There needs to be a change in policy.  We need a system which ensures the efficiency of the economy as a whole improves with respect to transport, in addition to ensuring a level playing field for competition in the transport sector.