To do this, BiReg needs to be further developed so that it can really achieve its goal.
The compulsory prior electronic authorisation control system for road carriers (BiReg) needs to be further developed to ensure that it achieves its objective of filtering out foreign carriers from outside the EU who cheat on licences and cause billions of euros in damage to Hungary. According to the Association of Hungarian Logistics Service Centres (MLSZKSZ), the system introduced on 1 January will play a key role in protecting the Hungarian transport market and fair competition, but the part of the BiReg that has not yet been completed, concerning logistics loading and unloading points, must be designed in such a way that it can effectively assist control and the authorities can act quickly against misuses.
From 1 January, the road carriers’ part of the BiReg IT system will be operational, aiming to prevent misuse of international licences, known as bilateral or CEMT licences. Within the European Union, non-EU carriers can only carry out transport operations on the basis of such authorisations, which are limited in number per year for a given country. Licences have been misused continuously in recent years – up to tens of times a licence has been used by foreign carriers who have taken work away from Hungarians and paid no taxes in Hungary. According to some estimates, 40-50% of all transport in Hungary was taken in this way by carriers from non-EU countries, causing billions of forints in market and budgetary losses every year.
Therefore, MLSZKSZ considers the launch of BiReg to be of utmost importance, but believes that it can only achieve its goal if the part of the system currently under development for Hungarian loading and unloading points – which receive and launch goods – is prepared with professional criteria in mind. Only in this way can BiReg be truly effective and, at the same time, impose only a reasonable burden on the companies concerned.
According to the MLSZKSZ:
- Clarify who has to report in the system. This requires amending the legislation on the control of loading and unloading sites, as there is no clear definition of what constitutes a loading and unloading site and who is obliged to record data in BiReg.
- Clarify which authority should be notified. It should be made clear which authority – police, customs, transport authority – should be notified if the loading and unloading points handling the goods detect a problem with the permits. If it is left to the notifier to decide, and the notification is not received by the right authority with the right number of staff and the right level of preparedness to carry out checks, the irregular road carrier can cross the border without being held to account. According to the MLSZKSZ, an analytical background algorithm should be developed (the customs authority has a lot of experience in this field in risk analysis), which can analyse in a matter of seconds whether the licence being scanned is in order or requires official intervention, based on the preliminary carrier licence recording and the data transmission at the place of loading and unloading.
- Make the notification-data entry process as fast as possible. It is important that the data capture process should take no more than 1-2 minutes and that the process should be simple and easy to learn. For example, the licence should have a QR code identification option, or a photograph of the licence and the number plate of the towing vehicle should be sufficient for identification.
- The loading and unloading points handling the goods must be informed of the results of the inspection. If they do not receive feedback on the result of the licence check, they cannot be expected to “prevent” the offending road carrier from carrying out the transport task. If a drop-off/loading point receives timely (e.g. within 5 minutes) feedback electronically from the authority that there are problems with the transport authorisation of the vehicle that is to be transported, it can report this in time to the principal who organises the transport. If and when this vehicle is loaded, it is likely to be subject to an official inspection somewhere along the way, which, depending on the outcome, could result in significant additional costs (e.g. transferring the goods to another means of transport), delays and damage to the cargo. This will allow the principal to take action, thus minimising damage.
- Handlers should not be held accountable for control tasks. Make it clear that drop-off and pick-up points have no control function. The power of control is exercised by the public authorities (customs, police, transport authority), with the assistance of the data recording at the places of loading/unloading. Drop-off and pick-up points should only be penalised if they do not register in the BiReg system and do not cooperate in the data recording process.
- Have a preparation and test period before the system goes live. Before implementation, there should be a test period of at least 60 days, during which market players can test, prepare and learn how the IT system works.
It is in the common interest of all road transport stakeholders and the Hungarian government that the BiReg system works well and that the misuses that have so far caused serious damage to Hungary and the logistics market are stopped. MLSZKSZ therefore calls on the ITM to organise regular professional consultations on the progress of the development of the system with the relevant stakeholders, including an assessment of the impact of the introduction of the system on the operation of the loading and unloading points.
About the Association of Hungarian Logistics Service Centres
The Hungarian Association of Logistics Service Centres (MLSZKSZ) is one of the leading organisations in the Hungarian logistics and transport industry, representing nearly 90 percent of Hungarian logistics service centres. In Hungary, the MLSZKSZ is the only association that covers the entire supply chain, including road, water, rail, air and logistics services. The Association was founded in 2002 to achieve effective cooperation between logistics service centres, to promote the business activities of companies operating in their catchment areas, to increase their competitiveness and to create new business opportunities. The Association currently has 82 members, and the volume of the national economy we represent exceeds HUF 470 billion in terms of turnover.