One of Romania’s largest organisations of freight haulers based in Arad has asked the Government for „relentless lobby” to help Romania joining the border-free Schengen Area, saying that haulers lose between 18 and 22% of their turnover due to blockages at the border with Hungary, while haulers prefer seeking employment by Hungarian companies to avoid queuing at the border for up to 10 hours, according to Agerpres.
Chairman of Europa 2002 Hauler Employers’ Association (APTE 2002) Adrian Pop told AGERPRES on Monday that Romanian haulage companies have to face additional expenses compared with competing companies elsewhere in Europe because of shipping being slowed down by customs checks at the Schengen border.
APTE 2002 is the largest organisation of freight haulers in western Romania representing about 2,200 companies that have over 15,000 lorries.
„In all these years when Romania’s accession to Schengen was postponed, freight haulage companies lost between 18 – 22% of their turnover. At the border with Hungary, sometimes you have to queue for 10 – 12 hours, and that means wasted driving shift, which is 9 hours. If a lorry is stuck at the border that driving shift does not make money, it only makes losses. In Romania, more than 66,000 lorries are shipping to the European Community, so we can imagine the significant losses amassed by haulers,” said Adrian Pop.
He believes that Romania’s efforts to convince the Netherlands to accept Romania’s integration into the Schengen area must continue.
„I don’t want to comment on foreign policy, but lobbying must not be abandoned for a moment in order to remove the last reservations from countries like the Netherlands,” said Pop.
He added that Hungary is responsible for „crises” created „artificially” at the border with Romania.
„Hungary is artificially creating crises when entering its soil from Romania because it does not allocate enough border check staff, which results in the queues of lorries forming every day,” said Pop.
Owner of a freight haulage company from Arad Dorin Pop told AGERPRES that in some years he had losses of 30% of turnover due to the border traffic congestion, and on the other hand he has difficulties in hiring haulers as they refuse foreign trips precisely because of the long waiting times at the Schengen border.
„I have done an analysis of the effects of border traffic blockages and I can tell you that we had years with losses of up to 30% of the turnover. A lorry stuck for 9 hours could travel 600 kilometres during the same time. Freight arrives late, which leads to large penalties and the risk of losing contracts. We find it very difficult to hire haulers for foreign trips, they prefer to work in Hungary to avoid the border queues. If they get stuck at the border (…) they can’t earn as much money as in a Schengen country,” said Pop.
The manager believes that Romania’s joining the Schengen area next year „would automatically lead to the development of Romanian haulage companies”.