Loschelder successful for parcel service providers at ECJ
No privileges for Deutsche Post for recording driving times and rest periods
The German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik e.V. (BIEK)) and its members are taking action against the practice of Deutsche Post AG of not controlling driving times and rest periods in around 12,500 delivery vehicles of certain weight classes. With its ruling of 21 November 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now ruled that this conduct is not covered by the privileges applicable to universal postal service providers.
The case is based on unfair competition law proceedings initiated by BIEK and its members against Deutsche Post before the Cologne Regional Court. The recording, which involves considerable administrative effort, must in principle be carried out by all transport companies on vehicles of certain weight classes. Unlike its competitors, however, Deutsche Post does not do this in its approximately 12,500 delivery vehicles of these weight classes.
Deutsche Post justifies this by referring to an exception in the German Ordinance on Driving Personnel (Fahrpersonalverordnung) in favour of universal postal service providers. This exempts vehicles from the obligation to record driving times and rest periods if they are used "to deliver items as part of the universal service". Deutsche Post argues that this exception also applies if the vehicles are only partially loaded with items transported as part of the universal service.
In the course of the unfair competition law proceedings, the Cologne Regional Court referred various questions to the ECJ concerning the interpretation of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport, which are decisive for the application of the German Ordinance on Driving Personnel.
The European Court of Justice has now clarified that universal service providers can only invoke the intended privilege for vehicles that are actually used exclusively for the purpose of providing universal services. The mixed loading method practised by Deutsche Post therefore does not justify the application of the privilege. As the ECJ expressly emphasises, otherwise there would be a competitive advantage over other postal service providers (judgment of 21/11/2019, Joined Cases C-203/18 and C-374/18).
BIEK and its member companies are represented before the Cologne Regional Court and the European Court of Justice by Loschelder lawyers Dr. Stefan Maaßen and Dr. Patrick Pommerening.
Loschelder regularly counsels BIEK and its members on fundamental regulatory issues.
If you have any questions regarding this press release, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Dr. Stefan Maaßen
T: +49 221 / 65065-231