Multilateral exchange Leiden

The date: Sunday 14th 2013. Outside the Holiday Inn hotel in Leiden, the ECR flag is raised. The multilateral exchange in the Netherlands is about to start. During the course of the afternoon the 17 participants arrive from the airport and train station, chauffeured by their Dutch counterparts.
After a slight delay, the Il&T director for rail-and road transport opens the event officially. The participants are given a brief walkthrough of the programme , followed by an introduction game to enable participants to get to know each other. After diner the participants can let out their competitive side with a round of bowling, to break the ice! Tired from the journey the participants find their rooms.

On Monday the official programme starts with an introduction of the IL&T and its tasks and competences, but after lunch it’s the participants themselves who get down to work during a discussion on cabotage enforcement. At the end of this frank exchange of ideas, it is evident that there is no common approach on a European level. The participants are presented with a case study that provides the necessary theoretical background and are asked to work out a case themselves.
After the theory the participants join their Dutch colleagues in the parking lot where  an in-depth briefing is given on pulse senders and manipulations, using a truck as visual support.

On Tuesday the participants participate in a roadside check along the A4 motorway. The check is an opportunity to see firsthand how the Dutch inspectorate carries out its tasks. Simultaneously the students are given a workshop on the controls on ADR. The cases found in the course of the afternoon are debriefed once the students are back at the hotel.

Wednesday means an early rise for the participants with a visit to the flower auction at Aalsmeer. Not just a touristic visit, but a prime opportunity  to get a closer look at a quintessentially Dutch product and the logistics of its transport. It’s also a well deserved breather for the interpreter as all the plaques are in four languages. In the afternoon the participants knowledge is put to the test. The winners get to take home a downloading tool. Next the exchange addresses the TRACE training material on driving- and resting hours enforcement. The organizers have chosen to select just a couple of items to give the participants a flavour of the material available. It becomes abundantly clear that the material is unknown to a significant number of the inspectors taking part in the exchange.

Thursday is a day for the participants to see how the Netherlands deal with their ‘bad guys’ and  ‘good guys’. Soft versus hard enforcement. In the afternoon the subject of cabotage is revisited using practical cases. What becomes evidently clear is how very complicated this issue is to enforce. The afternoon is reserved for a boat ride on the Leiden canals and leisure time to acquire a few souvenirs for back home. After which it’s time for the goodbye diner and speech.

Friday morning ten o’clock  with the bags packed it’s time to evaluate the exchange. The participants are pleased with the event: plenty of new things discussed and valuable contacts made.

At eleven the participants are escorted to the airport by their Dutch colleagues. The rooms is cleared and the flag taken down. Another exchange done. It was a wonderful week. The exchange, ECR’s core activity, has proven its worth yet again.


 


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