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European freight transport needs to go on a low-carb diet

The European Intermodal Summit on 27 October, with more than 300 participants, brought together in an online conference Transport Commissioner Adina-Ioana Valean, German State Secretary and Federal coordinator for freight transport and logistics Steffen Bilger – speaking on behalf of the German Council Presidency – and the First-Vice Chair of the European Parliament Transport Committee István Újhelyi, along with a unique group of ten CEOs, who make intermodal happen.

The Commissioner Adina-Ioana Valean declared the need to considerably increase intermodal in order to reduce the negative effects of road-only transport.  European citizens ask for freight transport to be cleaner and for not using exclusively road haulage – added István Újhelyi, the First-Vice Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee.  All sides will have to work together to deliver on the shared objectives and to strengthen Europe – pointed out German State Secretary and Federal coordinator for freight transport and logistics Steffen Bilger.  

"Combined Transport has delivered, is delivering and will continue to deliver in the future.  The CEOs from ten leading companies contributing to the future of European intermodal transport participated in the event – complementing the vision and expectations of the policymakers in attendance. Only the coordinated action of legislators and regulators together with the sector players and their industry association can bring about the targeted change expected by the European citizens.”  - stated UIRR President Ralf-Charley Schultze.

The CEOs who spoke at the event about the challenges, achievements and solutions of the past, the present and the future, pointed to the need for European-level solutions instead of a patchwork of national regulations.  Transport infrastructure with the required technical parameters and digitalization solutions, as prescribed for example in the Electronic Freight Transport Information (eFTI) Regulation, are essential. Freight transport companies will have to be granted adequate access to this infrastructure.  In the context of the European Green Deal „a low carb diet for European freight transport will be needed”, as was stated by Michail Stahlhut - CEO of HUPAC speaking at the European Intermodal Summit.

The European Commission is considering a wide range of measures from investment and regulation to promotion and transparency in order to deliver on these objectives – recapitulated Magda Kopczynska, Director D at DG MOVE in her closing remarks.

It has been confirmed that besides the revision of the Rail Freight Corridor Regulation and the TEN-T Guidelines, the Commission will table its ambitious proposal to recast the Combined Transport Directive in early 2022.

The video recording of the European Intermodal Summit 2020, as well as the presentations showed, can be accessed on the website of the conference.

Who is UIRR?

Founded in 1970, the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR) represents the interests of European road-rail Combined Transport Operators and Transhipment Terminal Managers.

Road-Rail Combined Transport (CT) is a system of freight forwarding which is based on efficiently and economically inserting electric rail into long-distance (road) transport-chains through the use of intermodal loading units (ILU).

UIRR is a partner organization in the COMBINE project.