Restrictions and difficulties for truck drivers in December
The governments of individual countries – including Poland – in connection with the spreading COVID-19 pandemic are introducing further restrictions. At the same time, a wave of protests is sweeping across Europe, with representatives of the transport and logistics industry dissatisfied with the situation. We therefore present another handful of the latest restrictions, which also affect professional drivers.
In recent weeks, the road haulage sector has been hit by a number of unpleasant events, making the work of truck drivers more difficult – bad weather, entry restrictions due to a pandemic or numerous protest actions by hauliers and their employees. Below is a collection of important information on where and when additional restrictions were introduced, affecting truckers’ work.
Negative tests at entry to Poland
From 15 December, when crossing the external Polish border, truck drivers must show a negative PCR test. The test must be taken 24 hours before crossing the border and must be presented to a Border Guard officer in either Polish or English.
Attention: this applies only to external borders of the Schengen area, i.e. crossings at the borders with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. When travelling to a European Union member state, a test result is not necessary.
In Belarus, testing can be done at the Bobrovniki-Bierestovitsa and Kukuryki-Kozlovichi border crossings. For other countries, testing should be scheduled in some city or mobile point, as this is not possible at all freight crossings.
Passenger Location Form in Romania
From 20 December, all truck drivers entering Romania must complete and present the Passenger Location Form to the border authorities. Unvaccinated persons will be quarantined. In the case of third-country nationals, a PCR test is required, no older than 48 hours before entry.
However, Polish lorry drivers are only required to take the form. The model document in PDF format should be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Interior. It is available in Romanian and English. You must present the completed form in either language at the border.
Railway traffic on the border with Belarus
For several weeks, there have been huge travel difficulties on the Polish-Belarusian border due to the migration crisis and lengthy customs control procedures. Drivers are queuing – depending on the period – even for several days.
Most importantly, this concerns all border crossings of Belarus and the European Union, including Lithuania and Latvia. Before heading east, it is mandatory to check the current status at the borders on the website of the National Tax Administration at www.granica.gov.pl.
A ban on exit for drivers from Russia
Russia has adopted a law that provides for additional sanctions for foreign truck drivers who fail to pay fines for traffic violations. So far, the majority of drivers have not paid these dues because there was no procedure for informing them of the violations. Nor did the government structures of the Federation collect the debts in any way.
After the changes, drivers will have to account for every unpaid fine (e.g. for speeding, traffic violations on railways, on the highway, running a red light, etc.). If the fine is not paid, the driver and his truck will be detained and will not be allowed to return to the country until the amount due is paid.
Wave of strikes of transport workers in Europe
A wave of strikes by representatives of the transport and logistics industry has been sweeping through Europe in recent days. In Italy, dissatisfied drivers are demanding improved working conditions and increased pay because, they say, they have to carry out their duties at the risk of their health and lives. This is not just about the pandemic and the disruption it causes, but also about the poor state of the country’s infrastructure.
Like their Italian counterparts, the French are demanding improved working conditions and an increase in pay. Local union representatives say that drivers’ pay has not changed for two years and that, given the circumstances, truckers are due a pay rise. In both countries, numerous organisations are taking part in the protest actions.
There was also a protest in Ireland in December. A group of hauliers blockaded Dublin harbour. The trucks were only allowed to pass emergency vehicles. Among the demands of local entrepreneurs is the demand to fight against, among other things, the rise in fuel prices, the rising price of transport insurance and the deepening shortage of truck drivers, with the whole economy of the country suffering as a result.
On 20 December, strike action will also take place in Spain. This time, transport entrepreneurs will take part in the protests. The hauliers are demanding, among other things, a ban on the participation of drivers in loading and unloading operations, a reduction in waiting times at ramps and the introduction of compulsory compensation. Transporters also want the authorities to abandon the introduction of tolls on motorways.