Differences in conditions are creating unfair competition between Swedish and European haulers

By: Thomas Ström 5/22/19

I have previously written about how competition between Swedish and European haulers is put out of play, since controls and extra sanction fees in Sweden only apply to Swedish haulers.

In this post, I will highlight some other factors that emphasize that these actors are playing by completely different conditions, which leads to the competition being distorted. This is something I hope that the EU will be able to contribute to change as soon as possible.

Most Swedish haulers invest heavily in new fuel-efficient vehicles with the least possible emissions to protect our environment. The latest Euro 6-rated engines emit next to nothing compared to their predecessors. According to BilSweden, a truck from the 70's releases as much nitrogen oxides and particles as 100 new trucks do today. A Euro 6-rated truck releases 95 percent less nitrogen oxides and 97 percent fewer particles than a Euro 1-rated diesel truck. It's no wonder that one of our hauler says: "These new trucks emit fresh mountain air."

But it’s pricey to invest in Euro 6-rated trucks. A new tractor unit with this type of standard costs about 1.4 million SEK in Sweden today. It’s a huge investment when all or large parts of the "fleet" are to be replaced. Meanwhile, we should be aware that in some European countries, the same trucks can be purchased for a roughly 300 000 SEK lower price. The competition is already put out of play right there.

But it gets worse. The Swedish haulers must comply with the Swedish Transport Administration's rules regarding driving and rest times word for word. In previous posts I have written about how strict the charges are if the driver breaks the rules in the slightest. For some companies, the total amount of fines could sum up to several hundred thousand Swedish crowns in one year. Because it is the human factor (i.e. the drivers) that determines how large the fees will be, the hauler is often unaware of the violations until the day the Swedish Transport Administration states its requirements. This has resulted in the Swedish haulers today budgeting with several hundred thousand Swedish crowns in additional fees during one year.

However, foreign haulers are not subject for review in Sweden. Their drivers can violate all the rules that their counterparts in the Swedish haulers must follow.

On the question why this is so, the Swedish Transport Administration responds: “But they are examined in their home countries in the same way as the Swedish haulers are here. The Swedish haulers will not be examined abroad. ”Several of the Swedish entrepreneurs I talked to are convinced that in many European countries there are not as many checks as in Sweden. Here too, the competition is unfair.

Along with a number of other factors, which I have written about and will write more about here on the blog in the future, the competition has been and will be unfair. Several foreign haulers therefore do not have to budget for extra sanction fees. And besides, they don't have to expect to pay as much for their trucks. It is no wonder that the Swedish haulers find it difficult to compete with the prices when it comes to transport to and from Sweden.

If the Swedish haulers are to win the contracts, they must be better at other things, such as service, quality, credibility and accessibility. We at NTEX work that way and try to help our partners to do the same. This is the reason why we are where we are today. Or as we usually say, "NTEX always does it a little bit better".


Thomas Ström