Big players on railways: do maximum for freight transport by rail

Big players on railways: do maximum for freight transport by rail

Karima Delli, chairwoman of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN), Josef Doppelbauer, executive director of the European Union's Railway Agency, and several CEOs of rail freight companies have called on decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies to boost freight transport by rail.

“In May 2020, we called for relaunching rail freight across the European Union, in order to achieve a 30% modal share by 2030. Three years later, this modal share has slightly decreased, although the volume has got higher”, said Karima Delli.

In order to facilitate the modal shift and to reach the 30% modal share by 2030, the stakeholders make several recommendations in this statement. These include track access fees, the implementation of the European Rail Traffic Management Scheme, the relevant StateAid rules and a review of the governance of rail freight corridors.

“The statement confirms our commitment to prioritise rail freight, which is not only more economical but also emits 9 times less gCO2e than road freight”, says Josef Doppelbauer. “Shifting from long-distance road to rail for distances over 700 km could save 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year and increase rail's modal share for freight to 36% in the EU. These impressive figures provide a compelling call to action for informed and sustainable decision-making.”

Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director of CER, added: “Trains don’t fly. We need infrastructure. We count on the European Parliament and Council to take the appropriate decisions on TEN-T. Today, the Union is also facing another significant challenge: unprecedented energy scarcity. The Ukraine crisis has revealed how vulnerable we are in this regard and this may well be the start of a long-lasting energy crunch. Whereas rail is 9 times less CO2-emiting than road, rail is also, and perhaps more crucially, 7 times more energy-efficient. While the Union is 58%-dependent on outside supply for its total energy needs, it is now clear that ‘energy consumption’ must become a default criteria in all policy initiatives, including the upcoming ‘Greening Transport Package’”.

This year will be very important for the freight sector in the European Union. Indeed, the European Commission is expected to present several proposals in June and political negotiations related to freight are underway (e.g. on the Trans-European Transport Network - TEN-T).

“We are absolutely aware about the fact that rail freight cannot meet all the needs. All modes of transports must be considered adequately with this regard. Rail freight has however been left behind for years and it is vital to make it a matter of top priority. We then call on the Member States and the European Commission to address the current challenges effectively. I really hope our voice will be heard”, Mrs Delli concluded.

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