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The European Commission has proposed a €60m investment package that could radically improve the number of secure parking spaces for trucks across the continent.
It has pledged to develop a network of safe and secure parking areas that will see some form of secure parking every 100km along the TEN-T core road network, as well as upgrading the safety, security and services at existing rest areas.
However, currently there are just 300,000 available truck parking spaces across the entire EU, which the International Road Transport Union (IRU) says represents a shortfall of around 100,000.
And of those 300,000, only 7,000 have been independently audited and certified as “safe and secure” – that’s less than 3% of the existing parking capacity.
“We welcome the news from the commission,” said Matthias Maedge, IRU general delegate.
“Last year, to raise awareness on this issue, I invited members of the European Parliament to spend the night in a truck cabin to demonstrate that the truck is not the problem. Rather, it is the quality of parking infrastructure that needs improvement.”
Crime against trucks in Europe has soared in recent years, exacerbating other issues such as the driver shortage crisis, and the lack of secure parking and clean facilities for drivers is consistently among truckers’ major gripes.
The IRU participated in an EU-funded study which revealed that almost 90% of drivers and transport operators agree the current safe parking supply is insufficient.
The study defined the security, safety and service requirements needed for a parking area to be certified as safe and secure. The ensuing standards were adopted by the EC and form the basis of the new funding scheme.
“If we are to tackle this issue and attract new talent into the industry, then improving working conditions – including safe and secure truck parking areas – is critical,” Mr Maedge said.
“The funding made available is an important first step in the journey to improving working conditions in the road transport sector.”