News 06 Dec 2018

Rail Freight Day: cooperation, the key word to boost rail freight

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) encourages rail freight operators, infrastructure managers and authorities to strengthen and reinforce their cooperation with the aim of boosting international rail freight by increasing its efficiency and reliability for the benefit of the end-customer.

At the Rail Freight Day in Vienna today, CER and eight other rail sector associations (CLECAT, EIM, ERFA, EUG, ESC, RNE, UIP, UIRR, UNIFE), supported by the rail freight corridors, presented their progress in implementing the Sector Statement agreed at the 2016 TEN-T Days in Rotterdam. At the event, the sector referred to the recently adopted ‘Comprehensive Progress Report’, outlining the progress made in each of the ten priority actions identified for boosting international rail freight. The report also highlights the support needed from other actors, such as national and European authorities to complete those actions.

The sector further revealed a shorter and less technical document, ‘Outlook on the Sector Statement’, highlighting the benefits which the implementation of the identified priorities is expected to bring to rail freight operators and their customers, and underlining its continued commitment to boost international rail freight. Both documents can be found here.

At the same session the Austrian Presidency presented a ‘Political Progress Statement’ as a follow-up to the Ministerial Declaration which had also been agreed at the 2016 TEN-T Days in Rotterdam. In this Statement, which is supported by the EU Member States participating in the rail freight corridors plus Norway and Switzerland, Austria addresses the ten priority actions and welcomes the continuous work by the sector stakeholders, underlining the importance of further coordination and monitoring of the process.

Rail Cargo Group CEO, Clemens Först, followed-up by presenting the vision ‘30 by 2030 - Rail Freight strategy to boost modal shift’ developed by the ‘Rail Freight Forward’ coalition made up of a number of European rail freight operators. According to the vision, a modal share of 30% for rail freight may be achieved by 2030 if railway undertakings and infrastructure managers continue their efforts in innovation and service flexibility, and if authorities play their role in establishing a level playing field across modes that allows the transport sector to take full advantage of rail’s environmental benefits.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The Sector Statement Group, the Rail Freight Coalition, the 30 by 2030 Vision: these different initiatives all have the same goal – to boost international rail freight! In its Communication of 28 November on ’A clean planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy’, the European Commission notes that rail is the most energy-efficient solution for freight. Today, I would like to make a plea to the rail sector and to authorities to work hand in hand towards climate-neutral mobility with rail as the backbone.