SOFTICE: Survey on Freight Transport Costs in Europe
MUSSO A, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy
There are presently in Europe significant freight transport cost differences between countries and modes caused by inequalities in infrastructure charges, registration fees, taxes, etc. The principles of harmonisation of conditions of competition and prog
There are presently in Europe significant freight transport cost differences between countries and modes caused by inequalities in infrastructure charges, registration fees, taxes, etc. The principles of harmonisation of conditions of competition and progressive opening of markets, recommended by the European Parliament, call for adjustment of the charges for using various modes of transport to cover infrastructure maintenance costs and, to an increasing extent also external costs.
To better understand the importance of harmonisation and its potential impact, SOFTICE a research project conducted on behalf of the European Commission in the 4 th Research and Development Framework Programme and recently completed, was tailored to provide a framework for discussions on freight transport costs, particularly in relation to certain important questions such as:
* What is the present situation in Europe, which factors affect freight cost structure and demand?
* How might a change in transport policy affect the costs of transport and consequently the relative competitiveness of the industry in the different countries?
More specific goals of SOFTICE were:
- An identification of the main parameters affecting freight cost structure in the EU members States plus Switzerland and some CEEC countries and of the factors affecting freight transport demand.
- A collection and comparison of some relevant examples of factors of freight costs by country, checked by a Shippers Panel Survey.
- A map covering various types of industries, illustrating the weight of transport costs as a proportion of their overall production and distribution costs, as well as the conditions of their preference of each transport mode.
- Development and validation of a "four stages" methodology for the analysis of the present distortions in Europe and adaptable to different possible policy scenarios.
-Analysis of the consequences of different policies for taxation and internalisation of costs on spatial production organisation.
To develop the above issues, the study has been divided into four workpackages; for each of them an overview of the work undertaken is presented.
Association for European Transport