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Secure parking areas

The parking of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) has become an increasingly contentious issue. Despite the efforts undertaken by government authorities to promote the modal shift towards rail or river transport, the number of HGVs on European motorways and roads continues to grow. Studies on trends in freight transport all point to the same conclusion by 2030: the continued predominance of road transport with around 70% of market share.

Yet for the last 20 years, no coordinated action has been taken to improve rest facilities for drivers on the road and manage the parking of their HGVs. This state of affairs contributes to overcapacity in motorway rest areas and unauthorised parking in the vicinity of loading and unloading zones, causing disturbance and nuisance for residents and hazardous working conditions for drivers.

Additionally, criminal acts against road freight transport are on the rise. The theft of road freight and fuel is increasingly more frequent and violent, often perpetrated by organised gangs. Finally, new legislation on drivers' working hours (11/03/2002 Directive 2002/15/EC) is resulting in compliance with resting time requirements by drivers and transport carriers.

Four factors

The following four factors make it necessary to take stock of the situation so that new facilities for drivers and their trucks can be built:

  • increased HGV traffic;
  • lack of suitable parking for HGVs;
  • road freight transport security issues; and
  • legislation on drivers' working hours.

This initiative can be taken by either local governments or large private groups. Secure parking areas are, for obvious operational reasons, often enhanced with a range of services developed especially for drivers and their vehicles. Secure parking areas first appeared in France late in 2005. Today, some 12 facilities of this type exist throughout the country. They are an offshoot of the first truck stops developed by local governments, which often were managed by professional transport organisations. Parking in these facilities remained free of charge for transport carriers until security measures and more sophisticated design and maintenance necessitated the payment of fees to make them profitable.

It is hoped that large private players (toll motorway and construction companies) will continue to invest in these facilities. Even so, the local governments that are confronted by these issues and that are in charge of managing these often run-down truck stops could find a satisfactory and innovative solution to their maintenance, expansion and security problems through a public-private partnership (PPP).

In this context, CET supports investors, whether public or private, through:

  • opportunity and/or feasibility studies;
  • drafting of specifications for services;
  • scaling of investments;
  • profitability analyses;
  • establishment of partnerships; and
  • identification of solutions suited to individual needs.

To provide local governments with a comprehensive solution to PPP arrangements, CET acts through a co-contracting agreement with a consultancy specialising in public procurement.