Since 1 April 1980, road haulage operations between the six original member states of the Common Market (France, Italy, Belgium, West Germany, the Neterlands, and Luxemburg) and the three new members (Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Ireland) are subject to a system of non-binding reference tarriffs rather than the compulsory forced tariffs governing haulage between the six original member states. This paper analyses the experience gained to date with a view to assessing the effectiveness of the reference tariff system. After two years, deregulation of the rates for the carriage of goods by road between Member States has failed to have the expected impact. The founder Member States have not availed themselves at all of this opportunity for further liberalisation and have shown little interest in doing so in future. Meanwhile the mixture of compulsory tariffs and recommended rates aggravates the discrimination caused by the differing degrees of determination with which the authorities monitor the fork tariff system, since it distorts the conditions of competition for carriers and for general trade and industry. There is no guarantee that the rates are in harmony with market, even on those links where the reference tariffs are applied. Indeed, the severe undercutting of the reference rates for certain short-haul and road-only operations arouses the suspicion that the recommended rates are unrealistic. On the other hand, the market rates for the lighter weight classes and combined road/sea operations are higher than those recommended. This is also reflected in the degree to which the recommended rates cover costs: they more than cover the costs of short-haul operations in particular, but fail to cover the full cost of operations in the lighter weight classes or over longer distances. Consequently, the reference tariffs have failed to make the market more efficient or to serve as a useful indicator. These failure suggest that the recommended rates are not differentiated as well as they should be.

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    London School of Economics and Political Science

    Houghton Street, Aldwych
    London WC2A 2AE,   England 
  • Authors:
    • BAUM, H
  • Publication Date: 1984-1

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  • Accession Number: 00390982
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 30 1984 12:00AM