Economy needs faster approvals for heavy goods transports

Shutterstock

Slow procedures affect important supply chains - Significantly more funds needed to rehabilitate dilapidated bridges - First improvements achieved in Hesse and other states

The approval procedures for oversized and heavy transports are still far too cumbersome and slow in many federal states. Seven major business associations therefore unanimously called for improvements at this year's Transport Forum. They demand significantly more investment in infrastructure, in particular in the upgrading of dilapidated bridges, an increase in planning resources for engineers in the relevant authorities and better cooperation between the Länder, which are to create transparency about traffic obstructions and construction sites through data exchange, right up to an automated approval procedure. Permits for special transports should be available within 5 days and not only after 5 weeks, is a central demand of the economy. 150 experts from politics, business and administration took part in the event of the Association Initiative in the Haus der Wirtschaft Hessen in Frankfurt.

Central statements of the participants of the forum are as follows:

Klaus Rohletter, Chairman of the Management Board of Bauunternehmung Albert Weil AG, Limburg, and Deputy Chairman of the Transport Committee of the Association of Hessian Employers' Associations: "Whether in the construction industry, mechanical and plant engineering or agriculture - well-functioning oversized and heavy transports are indispensable for the German economy. One year after we approached the 16 state transport ministers, there have been improvements in individual countries. In Hesse, for example, Interior Minister Peter Beuth has approved transitional periods for the police to accompany special transports for a longer period of time. In addition, the workforce at Hessen Mobil was increased. Structural and transnational improvements must now follow swiftly."

Wolfgang Draaf, Managing Director of the Federal Specialist Group for Heavy Transport and Crane Work (BSK), Frankfurt, outlined the problems that still exist and submitted concrete suggestions for improvement: "Entrepreneurs still have to wait 5 weeks or longer for permits - depending on the federal state. There is no security in planning. The consequences are delayed supply chains and often contractual penalties for late deliveries. Our image 'made in Germany' is at stake," says Draaf. His demand: Applications would have to be decided within 5 working days. To achieve this, bureaucratic hurdles must be reduced, intermodal intersections secured and data exchanged across countries with the aim of an automated approval procedure. In addition to massive investments in infrastructure, bridges would have to be upgraded more quickly and the necessary planning funds increased.

"Whether in the construction industry, mechanical and plant engineering or agriculture - functioning oversized and heavy loads are essential for the German economy."

Steffen Bilger (CDU), Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and Federal Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics stated: "The challenges of permit and approval procedures for oversized and heavy transports are well known and are being addressed in the BMVI. In 2017, for example, we simplified the system by reforming the associated administrative regulation. We have also recently presented the first draft of a regulation on the basis of which, in future, transport escorts can be completely transferred from the police to private companies. In addition, the Federal Government and the Länder are committed to making the VEMAGS system much more efficient."

Erika Hoffmann, head of department in the department "Roads and Traffic" in the Hessian Ministry of Transport, explained: "The state government is using all possibilities to further reduce the processing times for large-volume and heavy transports requiring approval. For example, Hessen is playing a leading role in the revision of the statutory provisions in order to simplify and thus speed up the approval procedure. The Federal Government and the Länder have made improvements to the Internet-based VEMAGS procedure for further development with the aim of achieving an automated approval procedure. Hessen Mobil has achieved a significant reduction in processing times thanks to increased personnel deployment".

Uwe Hinzmann, Managing Director Central Europe of the construction company Keller Grundbau GmbH, Offenbach, with 450 employees, still has problems with transport permits: "The approval procedures must in principle be speeded up and bureaucratised. This can be achieved by adequately increasing the number of specialist staff in the licensing authorities and by reducing federalism and standardising and digitising licence applications for oversized and heavy loads. The processing time can thus be significantly reduced to 5 working days on average. This is the only way for the German construction industry to meet the contractually agreed product quality and your reliability promise with regard to the construction period."

Dr. Burkhard Siebert, Managing Director of the Construction Industry Association Hesse-Thuringia, Wiesbaden, added: "The approval procedure is simply too long and inflexible. This is at the expense of plannability and entails enormous delays on construction sites. We cannot accept that construction equipment cannot be used just because it cannot be transported to the construction site. For companies, this means not only financial failure, but also damage to their image. Rather, state policy should do everything in its power to ensure that Hesse's infrastructure - especially the dilapidated bridges - is repaired. Then permanent permits can be issued again and complicated detours can be dispensed with."

Anja Gelbert, specialist for heavy transports at the plant constructor Buss-SMS-Canzler GmbH, Butzbach with 230 employees, sees a similar problem: "Among other things, we produce sewage sludge dryers, the transport of which is subject to approval due to dimensions/weight. For a current transport to a construction site approx. 60 km away, direct road transport was rejected several times for various reasons. The only alternative is combined transport by road/inland waterway. Lack of planning security and calculation basis are a big problem for us."

"The customers of our members expect not only quality in the machines and plants, but also in the handling of deliveries."

Naemi Denz, member of the executive board of the Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA), Frankfurt, added: "The customers of our members not only expect quality in the machines and plants, but also in the handling of deliveries. Delays due to long durations for special permits for heavy goods transports become a competitive disadvantage compared to foreign suppliers, especially in the case of exports. We therefore also need reliable processes here. Otherwise, locations and thus jobs in Germany are in danger."

Jörg Reichmann, member of the executive board of STL Logistik, Haiger, with approx. 200 employees, confirms the situation: "The situation is still unsatisfactory. Problems during transport lead to enormous monetary and time delays. Due to construction sites, rejections and a lack of alternative transport routes, the costs of many projects have almost doubled. In addition to the additional effort and costs, the result is also the associated dissatisfaction of our customers, whose international competitiveness is suffering".

Prof. Dr. Dirk Engelhardt, Managing Director of the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Waste Management (BGL), Frankfurt, warned: "In the course of increasing traffic performance on the roads, it is essential that we develop sustainable solutions across national borders at the association level together with entrepreneurs and politicians in order to speed up and complete the processes in the approval area (special use) and in transport as quickly as possible."“

Organizer of the Transport Forum:
Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) e.V. Bundesverband
Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (BGL) e.V. Bundesfachgruppe
Schwertransporte und Kranarbeiten (BSK) e.V. (Federal Association of Heavy Goods Transport and Crane Work)Deutscher Speditions- und Logistikverband (DSLV) e.V. Hauptverband
der Deutschen Bauindustrie (HDB) e.V. Verband
Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA) e.V.
Association of Hessian Employers' Associations (VhU) e.V.

Contact:
Anna von Gruenewaldt, Head of Transport and Logistics Policy,
Association of Hessian Business Associations (VhU), Frankfurt Phone: +49
69 95808-223, e-mail: AvonGruenewaldt@vhu.de