Day 1 - Session 4

The resilience of the road transport sector at the crossroads

Presenter: Raluca Marian, Director, EU Advocacy & General Delegate, International Road Transport Union (IRU)

Freight transport and logistics in the European Union is at a crossroads. Road transport carries around 77% of all goods overland and is thus strongly implicated. Over the last few years, a series of crises have impacted society and industry. Brexit had a serious impact on operations to and from the United Kingdom; the administrative burden has exponentially increased; so, have costs. There have also been security implications with the UK having introduced stricter rules and higher penalties for illegal immigration.

Brexit was not yet finalised when COVID-19 hit the world. For the first time since the creation of the European Union, the internal market was very seriously challenged. The resilience of the road goods transport industry enabled it to carry on with its operations and to supply industry and citizens – but it also came at a cost.

Many companies encountered economic difficulties, and many skilled drivers left the industry, amplifying driver shortages which have been taunting the industry for decades. Just as the impact of COVID-19 was easing, Russia invaded Ukraine, causing yet more supply chain disruptions, including further amplification of driver shortages and an unprecedented surge in fuel costs.

Additionally, the road transport sector has needed to manage the profound EU regulatory changes with new market and working conditions rules adopted in August 2020, the European Green Deal in 2019, accompanied with multiple implementation rules, and a strong EU push for the further deployment of digitalisation, proposals to open up the industry’s data, and new transport infrastructure guidelines, including targets for the building of safe and secure truck parking areas.

The combination of all these developments have introduced new operational and investment challenges for the road transport industry in some of the most economically difficult times, with one of the most significant challenges remaining the recruitment of skilled professional drivers to keep supply chains on the move. As the industry’s resilience is tested again, challenges must be turned into opportunities.


IRU represents national associations in 80 countries and multinational companies, notably over 3.5 million road transport operators, including 1 million in the EU alone.

In her role based in Brussels, Raluca Marian is in charge of advocacy for commercial transport by road, including mobility of people and goods. This includes all road freight transport and logistics matters as well as

their multi-modal connectivity and drive to digitalisation. Prior to joining IRU, for over 10 years

Raluca was a competition and regulatory lawyer in Norton Rose Fulbright’s team in Brussels, where

she advised on a broad range of competition areas, such as merger control, investigations, abuse

of dominance, horizontal and vertical agreements, and State aid law. On the regulatory side, her focus has been transport regulation and market access.

Raluca Marian

Raluca Marian

Director EU Advocacy and General Delegate of the Permanent Delegation to the EU at IRU