Companies in Italy are complaining that illogical and excessive bureaucracy is seriously hindering the heavy transport and lifting sector, according to the European association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes (ESTA).

The association said that the issues include an Italian regulation that only the owner of a mobile crane can apply for a permit. “This causes difficulties for cranes that are leased, as the legal owner is not the user who needs the permit, but the finance company responsible for the lease agreement,” said ESTA.

In a letter of support of Italian member association ANNA, and heavy transport and lifting company Fagioli, which have both complained to the Italian authorities, ESTA said that “it sees no valid grounds for this restriction…no other EU country requires this.”

Companies have also objected to the “excessively large” number of permit issuing organisations in Italy, leading to confusion, delays and unequal treatment of permit applicants.

ESTA added: “The slow and opaque processing of applications leads to unnecessary costs and delays which in turn incentivises companies to drive without a permit at all.”

Of further concern are the repeated technical reviews of bridges needed for the application of permits over a certain gross vehicle weight. ESTA said: “We are not contesting the necessity of this rule, however we are contesting the repeated calculation of the same bridges being crossed by the same vehicle configurations simply because there is a new transport application.”

ESTA has offered to discuss the situation directly with the Italian authorities and is awaiting a response.