We talked to Stefan Poppa, Secretary General of the Romanian Freight Forwarders Association about the steps taken to suspend application of the disputed provision.
RBT: How did the battle for the suspension of application OMTI 1172/2009?
È˜tefan Popa: It was not a battle, but a successful open dialogue with open minded interlocutors. What I explained to colleagues from the Ministry, the Romanian Road Authority and those from the Competition Council is that freight forwarders should not be required to issue a letter of guarantee because, in fact, they have no responsibilities related to the execution of the contract of carriage.
You can not require the forwarder to be liable for what the haulier does wrong. Moreover, banks would issue letters of guarantee only for existing contracts and freight forwarders cannot know what contracts they will have over the year. Competition Council has given us justice, admitting that the new licensing condition creates the premises of a restriction of competition. We have been given justice by the Transports and Infrastructure Ministry too: the discussion with the Secretary of State Eusebiu Pistru ended with the conclusion that there is no justification to ask letters of guarantee.
Especially since, according to old regulations the freight forwarder must submit liability insurance when it comes to licensing if it does not have enough cash to cover potential damages.
RBT: Hauliers saw the letters of guarantee as good things. At least that’s what was said by the ones who were victims of all sorts of scams…
È˜tefan Popa: If the letter of guarantee was introduced, many of the small and medium freight forwarders would have succumbed, and hauliers would have been hurt too. It would have been bad for the hauliers because the surviving freight forwarders would have been in a better position to negotiate favorable contracts for them and hence less advantageous contracts for those who would execute the transports.
When it comes to scams, I would advise the hauliers to creditworthiness of their partners. Establishing a relationship of trust with partners is also important: hauliers should not change partners as often as their shirts and always seek the cheapest freight forwarder.