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Alliance of associations demands strengthening of combined transport

Leading transport associations have submitted their proposals for the forthcoming evaluation of the Federal Ministry of Transport's (BMVI) funding directive for combined transport.

In a joint position paper, the DSLV Bundesverband Spedition und Logistik (Federal Association of Freight Forwarders and Logistics Operators), the Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV) (Association of German Transport Companies), the Bundesverband öffentlicher Binnenhäfen (BÖB) (Federal Association of Public Inland Ports), the Bundesverband der deutschen Binnenschifffahrt (BDB) (Federal Association of German Inland Navigation) and the Studiengesellschaft für den Kombinierten Verkehr (SGKV) (German Promotion Center for Intermodal Transport) – a partner organization in COMBINE project – have formulated core requirements for the successful design of combined transport in the future.

The demands include the creation of a coherent legal framework in the EU to harmonise the conditions of competition in the Member States, further reduction of bureaucracy including coherent and simplified conditions for pre- and post-haulage road transport, strengthening digitalisation and targeted financial support, including replacement investments. Since 1998, the Federal Government has been promoting the construction and expansion of transshipment facilities for freight transport at the interfaces between roads, railways and waterways. Since then, the transport volume has almost quadrupled to around 114 million tonnes. The CT Promotion Directive is thus the basis for the success of climate-friendly combined transport and therefore remains important for its competitiveness. In order to further strengthen combined transport, federal support must be expanded, the associations demand in their recently published position paper. Brussels, too, must now urgently modernise its 30-year-old Directive 92/106/EEC and adapt it to the needs of the economy and society for goods mobility, environmental protection and digitalisation.

Axel Plaß, DSLV President: "Freight forwarders and logistics companies organise and manage supply chains for their customers from industry and trade. The CO2 pricing that will be introduced from 2021 to meet climate protection targets will influence the choice of transport mode. The decision to transport goods in combined transport by rail and inland waterways will depend not only on the price, but also on its performance, i.e. the reliability and predictability of the handling and transport processes. If the framework conditions are right, combined transport will contribute to the success of a transport turnaround".

Joachim Berends, VDV Vice-President: "Since 1998, we have succeeded in reducing road freight transport by approx. 28.4 billion tonne-kilometres per year, thus relieving the environment of around two million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Notwithstanding the positive development of combined transport in recent years, its companies continue to face strong competition from end-to-end road haulage, which is often determined by the price per tonne. It is therefore important to support all activities that strengthen its competitiveness".

Jens Schwanen, BDB Managing Director: "The federal government and Europe have achieved a lot in the past years with the respective guidelines. It is now important to bring these regulations up to date in order to link inland waterway vessels, railways and trucks ever better - and to make the best possible use of the climate-friendly advantages of combined transport. To do this, we need to harmonise the competitive conditions in the EU, digital networking, a reduction in bureaucracy and targeted financial support".

Jens Hohls, BÖB chairman: "Since 1998, the funding guideline has been contributing to the expansion of a network of transhipment facilities for intermodal transport and is a complete success in our view. The federal funding must therefore be continued beyond 2021. Rail and waterways must be able to exploit their potential for climate protection to an even greater extent than before".

Clemens Bochynek, managing board member of SGKV: "It is important that the climate-friendly modes of transport are purposefully networked with the road in a system, that rail and waterways are strengthened in a meaningful way. Combined transport has proven its flexibility both before and during the crisis and guarantees important European transport axes. In addition to the efforts of the companies, federal funding has led to an increase in the volume transported to 114 million tonnes per year. The potential of the combined transport system is far from exhausted".

Read the joint position paper: "Kombinierten Verkehr erfolgreich gestalten".