Since the Act on the Cargo Tracking System, also known as the "carriage package", was approved on 3rd April 2017, entrepreneurs who carry goods that fall within the scope of this legislation will need to adapt their practices to its new legal requirements. The Act's vacatio legis period states that its core provisions enter into force 14 days after its publication date, so the Act will apply as of 18th April 2017, but the provisions regarding penalties only enter into force on 1st May 2017. Given the significant nature of the Act's amendments, it is advisable for entrepreneurs to start preparing to adjust their business activities to the new legal environment.
Purpose and scope of the recent Act
According to the Act's justification, the purpose of the Act is "to fight against dishonest entrepreneurs who conduct illegal trade in liquid fuels, completely-denaturated alcohol and dried tobacco without complying with the conditions laid down by law". In order to remedy this state of affairs, the Act introduces a system for monitoring the carriage of these goods by road, by creating a carriage of goods register. The register and monitoring system shall apply in particular to motor fuels and derivatives, including biodiesel, fuel additives, lubricant oils, vegetable oils, defrosters based on ethyl alcohol, dilutants, solvents, ethyl alcohol and dried tobacco.
The Act applies primarily to four groups of entities, i.e. carriers, drivers, entities dispatching goods and entities receiving goods. Those entrepreneurs whom the Act categorises as dispatching entities, receiving entities or carriers will be obliged to declare their carriage of goods in the register. Drivers will be obliged to carry appropriate documents during carriage. Any failure to comply with the Act's requirements may result in the imposition of severe penalties.
Penalties for non-compliance with formalities
The failure by dispatching or receiving entities to declare any carriage of the aforementioned goods will result in a fine of 46% of the net value of the goods whose carriage ought to have been declared, with the minimum fine amount being PLN 20,000. In the event that transported goods are found to be different to those recorded in the declaration, the 46% rate shall apply to the difference between the net value of the declared goods and the goods actually carried, again with the minimum fine amount being PLN 20,000.
Sanctions may also be imposed on carriers. In the event of a failure to declare goods or any inconsistencies between the declaration and the goods actually transported, the carrier shall be subject to fine of PLN 20,000. Moreover, a fine of PLN 5,000 may be imposed on a carrier who fails to complete the declaration which includes certain aspects of the carrier's data, including: tax identification number; vehicle registration numbers; actual commencement date of the goods' carriage; planned completion date of the goods' carriage; permit/certificate/licence number; delivery address or other address where the carriage will be completed; and number of freight document accompanying the transported goods.
Drivers should also bear in mind that they may be subject to penalties. According to the Act, if a driver is discovered to have carried goods without the required registration documents, (s)he may be fined at a level between PLN 5,000 – PLN 7,500.
In light of the abovementioned restrictions on the carriage of goods in/through Poland, any entities that fall within the scope of the Act's provisions (i.e. fuel vendors, entities conducting intra-Community acquisitions, intra-Community supplies, import, export, and carriers and drivers), should exercise due diligence and adapt their practices to the new legal obligations. Entrepreneurs should also be aware of the fact that the Act enters into force only 14 days after its publication, i.e. on 18th April 2017, with the provisions regarding the penalties entering into force on 1st May 2017.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.