The European Commission has announced the launch of new and improved transport rules for the European passenger and freight road transport industry that are aimed at fairer competition and less red tape.

Major changes in the existing rules include electronic linking of national registers of road transport undertakings for quick and efficient information exchange on committed infringements between member states as well as stricter rules on the establishment of undertakings to combat ‘letter box’ companies.

Other changes include entitling every haulier to carry out up to three cabotage operations within seven days after the unloading of any international transport, which can be proven with the freight document alone, to avoid empty trips as well as streamlining the authorisation procedure for regular international passenger services.

A new rule also allows drivers of certain types of passenger transport to take the compulsory weekly rest period after 12 days instead of six to facilitate coach holidays.

The new regulations for the 900,000 European road transport undertakings are expected to save over $280m (€190m) annually.