The EU must move forward with a credible Global Transport Action Plan to define priorities and mark the future of rail transport
- The ‘Second Eurasian Connectivity and Industrial Cooperation Forum (Europe)’ has focused on providing the keys to encourage increased participation and use of rail land transport; as well as promoting the business-oriented approach to the development of the EU / Eurasia multimodal transport network.
- The Forum is part of the Eurasia Industrial Connectivity and Cooperation Forum that takes place twice a year, once in Europe (this one) and once in China to develop guidelines and promote the corresponding actions, with a business-centered approach to achieve the objectives of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative and the EU policy on sustainable connectivity between Europe and Asia.
FERRMED celebrated on 6th November at the Brussels International Press Center the ‘Second Eurasian Connectivity and Industrial Cooperation Forum’ with the objective of move towards a feasible plan to achieve the objectives of the EU White Paper and to promote the business-oriented approach to the development of the EU / Eurasia multimodal rail network. To achieve that, it is necessary considering high-capacity smart trains and terminals, digitization, data exchange, block chains and Smart urban cities up to 5G networks and the circular economy in rail freight transport.
The Forum gathered more than 200 representatives and experts from transport, logistic and trade institutions, noteworthy institutions, associations and companies from across Europe. In the opening session Antonio Tajani, Former President of the European Parliament; Matthias Ruete, European Coordinator (ERTMS), Wang Hongjian, Charge d’Affaires, Mission of People’s Republic of China to the EU; Emil Kaikiyev, Minister in charge of Energy and Infrastructure, Eurasian Economic Commission; Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General, Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation; Zhai Zheng, Deputy Secretary General of Zhengzhou Municipal Government; Vicent Vu, Director for Institutional Affairs and Coordinator for Asia-Pacific (UIC) and Joan Amorós, president of FERRMED and event organizer, have intervened.
The European transport system is weakened. “There is still a high level of inefficiency in the multimodal European transport system and it’s time to change that”, said Antonio Tajani, MEP, at the conference. According to the World Economic Forum (2009) 24% of cargo vehicles in the European Union circulate empty and the overall efficiency of transport is only 43%. This situation is similar at the Eurasian level. To this, we add the fact that the rail freight system continues to be too expensive, slow and bureaucratic, which creates serious difficulties and makes it impossible to meet the objectives of the "EU White Paper on transport".
At the conference, a series of proposals have been dealt with which it hopes to solve the problems on the railway lines of the busiest corridors of EU Core Network.
In the lecture ‘Logistic operators’ requirements for the improvement of the multimodal supply chain’, there has been talk of the need for advocates the development of business for a trans-European rail network and to push the implementation of innovative actions in the railway system (infrastructure, operation, rolling stock). “All forms of transport and all existing goods, such as liquids, must be taken into account,” said Alberto Grisone, Director Network Development HUPAC. In this way, transit times will be drastically reduced (up to 50%), transport costs will be reduced too (more than 25%) and both noise and vibrations and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced (45 million tons / year approx.).
In “The impact of digitalization, data sharing, 5G and circular economy in the freight transport system”, the vision of the telecommunications sector on the challenges to deploy infrastructure based on 5G technology in future pan-European autonomous transport corridors has been explained. “Connected mobility will be one of the priorities at EU level of the next Commission, as it will generate positive impacts in multiple dimensions, affecting the entire productive fabric of the continent,” said Javier Albares, Head of Innovation at GSMA Europe.
FERRMED and other key associations (such as IIC, OSJD, CCTT, CER, ERFA, SHIFT2RAIL...) have presented their project to create a “circular load transport system” where the use of 5G technologies is required, high-speed information transmission, faster connections and more efficient energy consumption is required.
This is the only way that the objectives of the European Commission can be achieved, which claims that in 2030 “30% of the road load of more than 300 km will change to other modes, such as the railroad or the waterway”. And doing so is important and urgent: in 2004, the road load was 18% and ten years later, nothing had increased.
‘Enhance digitalization is the only way to reduce costs’
At the lecturer ‘Shippers’ requirements for the improvement of the multimodal supply chain’ was explained that the first obstacle to development of rail freight traffic is represented by technical constraints within the rail-networks and mainly at cross-borders rail connections. For this reason, “it is necessary to advocate for an efficient combined transport”. With that, it intends to make changes to long-distance, short, medium and long-term services in Europe and Eurasia.
As stated by Joan Amorós, president of FERRMED, ”in 2015, in terms of tons-km, 75% of the goods were transported by road, 18% by rail and 7% by barge; so it is necessary to act and create a balance”. If the global logistics chain is improved, the main transport lines can be selected and the interconnection between them will be boosted.
FERRMED proposes a Global Transport Action Plan to define priorities and mark the future of rail transport
Joan Amorós presented the 'FERRMED Study of traffic and modal shift optimization in the EU'. The study will analyze the European freight corridors in order to mark the priorities of the EU Member States. Thus, an Action Plan is proposed to achieve the EU ‘White Paper’ targets by 2030, which is expected to achieve better investments, environmental improvements an grater efficiency.
The study will analyze in detail the traffic flows of the nine corridors of the main network of the EU in search of finding which are the main traffic routes and define the most congested areas. Specifically, the document focuses on the "backbone railway network", which is, approximately 6,000 km of the busiest EU corridors (including the North Sea - Baltic or the Mediterranean).
The results will be published at the end of the year 2020 and will be transferred to the EC and the EU Member States to facilitate the prioritization of transport actions and serve as a fundamental tool for amending the Regulation TEN-T, planned by the European Commission for 2021.
FERRMED is fully open to combine effors with other key Eurasian Associations / Institutions in order to improve the Eurasian connectivity in the framework of “Belt and Road” initiative. A more efficient Eurasian Railway system could avoid subsidies in the future.
The photo of Opening Session: Antonio Tajani, Chairman of the Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Former President of the European Parliament; Wang Hongjian, Charge d’Affaires, Mission of People’s Republic of China to the EU; Emil Kaikiyev, Minister in charge of Energy and Infrastructure, Eurasian Economic Commission; Gennady Bessonov, Secretary General, Coordinating Council on Trans-Eurasian Transportation; Zhai Zheng, Deputy Secretary General of Zhengzhou Municipal Government and Joan AMORÓS, FERRMED President.
Additional information: Assumpta Torrent (firstname.lastname@example.org)