New law on land transport of goods

Changes to the Spanish Road Transport Law.

In the preambles to this new freight transport law, the legislator emphasises the “hardship situation” that many hauliers and their employees face.

Given this situation, it is mandatory to take legal measures to protect transport operators and, in general, the whole of society that depends on road transport for access to essential goods such as food, fuel and other daily necessities.

The legislator recognises that this disparity represents a risk of “tensions in the provision of service and in the proper functioning of the logistics chain”. The implementation of these new regulations in freight transport redefines the framework of the relationship between carriers and shippers.

Official State Gazette Prohibition of loading and/or unloading

The new regulation changes the cargo logistics management process by prohibiting carriers from loading and unloading goods weighing more than 7.5 tonnes of maximum authorised mass (MMA), which means that we are talking about the transport of heavy loads.

Exceptions are made for specific services such as removals and furniture storage, transport of liquids in tanks, transport of aggregates or tipping vehicles.

According to the new transport law, the loading of goods will be the responsibility of the shipper, while unloading will be the responsibility of the consignee.

However, the carrier may carry out these tasks, as well as stowage and unstowage, under two conditions:

  • When the goods have a MMA of less than 7.5 tonnes.
  • Where such activities are contracted and clearly itemised on the invoice.

Automatic updating of tariffs according to fuel prices

The constant rise in fuel prices represents one of the most significant challenges in the logistics field. The recent unprecedented increases absorb a considerable part of the carrier’s profits.

To address this problem, the recent update of the regulations on land freight transport in Spain establishes the obligation to revise the tariffs, incorporating the increase in the price of diesel or other fuels in the final cost of the transport service.

This provision shall apply whenever price fluctuations exceed 5% between the time of contracting the service and its execution. These rates must be clearly specified in the transport documentation, particularly on the invoice.

One-hour waiting time for loading and unloading limited to one hour

A long waiting time for loading and/or unloading a vehicle unnecessarily increases the driver’s working time. This situation hampers their ability to reconcile family life, reduces rest periods and may represent a risk at the wheel.

With the aim of promoting more socially and labour sustainable logistics and distribution, the new legislation sets a maximum limit of one hour for waiting time. After this period has elapsed, the carrier is entitled to claim compensation for the stoppage. The amount of compensation is equal to the Public Indicator of Multiple Effect Income (IPREM) per day, multiplied by 2 for each hour or fraction of waiting time.

In 2023, the IPREM is €40/hour, and no more than 10 hours of compensation per day can be claimed. In the event that the waiting period is extended, the law provides for a 25% increase in the penalty for the second day, and an additional 50% if it is extended to a third day.

Penalties for non-compliance with transport law.

All these measures, together with others aimed at preventing the proliferation of so-called “letterbox companies”, which represent significant unfair competition, are mandatory. In case of non-compliance, shippers can face considerable penalties of up to €6,000.

What is the impact of this measure on freight transport?

Compliance with the new transport law has had a significant impact on freight transport companies by addressing a number of their labour demands. However, it has also led to the need to review loading and unloading operations by shippers and consignees of goods.

In addition, specialised loading and unloading transport companies are required for these tasks, which implies an increase in labour costs. In addition, it is imperative to optimise incoming goods processes and improve coordination between shippers and carriers, as fewer delays mean fewer additional costs.

A standard has yet to be established for the certification of loading and unloading areas in relation to the facilities and services available. This certification will be carried out by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA).

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