Brenner transit: European transport and logistics industry calls on EU Commission President to take action against Austria

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Austria’s policy to limit goods transport by road in the Tyrol region is increasingly hindering the ability to provide services and move goods through one of the most important transit corridors in the EU, with about 7,000 truck movements per day.

Following a deterioration of the situation, 13 transport and logistics associations from across the EU have voiced their concern about the difficulties in carrying freight by road across Tyrol, in a letter sent today to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The associations have reiterated their call for the European Commission to fulfill its role as guardian of EU Treaties and to stop Austria’s illegal anti-transit measures. 

In March 2021, the associations had already written to the President of the European Commission showing the need for urgent European Commission intervention and the launch of an infringement procedure against Austria. That letter remains unanswered: the President of the EU Commission has remained deaf to the industry’s call ever since. 

Today’s letter includes critical examples of the impacts of Austria’s transit policy, such as the block handling in Tyrol which resulted in a serious rear-end collision with a tanker truck and the closure of the A8 motorway in both directions for 24 hours last week, creating tens of kilometers of queues in Bavaria. 

Moreover, due to the time windows for trucks to drive over the Brenner Pass getting even shorter, massive traffic congestion, with queues of up to 70 km, has recently become a regular occurrence in Bavaria. This has led to unreasonable pollution for residents and the environment on the German side of the Inn Valley. In addition, the truck drivers involved have to wait in precarious conditions, without access to sanitary facilities, which again challenges an essential profession confronted with dramatic workforce shortages.

In 2020, 2.31 million trucks passed through the Brenner motorway. In order to shift them to rail, 428 RoMo (Rolling Motorway) trains per day would be necessary. Currently, only about 30 RoMo trains per day travel over the Brenner. 

Rail will not provide sufficient capacity to shift road freight in the foreseeable future as the completion of the Brenner tunnel is not expected until 2032 at the earliest and the completion of the access routes on the German and Italian sides will probably take decades. 

The transport and logistics industry therefore demands the European Commission to take action to stop this unbearable economic and social situation and provide solutions to allow the continuity of road freight across Tyrol now.

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