On June 16, UIP and its Italian member association Assoferr brought together high level representatives of freight Wagon Keepers, industry and governments to discuss possible ways for achieving higher economic performance in rail freight. The performance of rail freight transport is reaching 18.2% of the modal share according to the EU Statistical Pocketbook 2015 but remains competitively far behind and in third place after road and maritime (short sea shipping) transportation.
An increasing demand by customers for greener logistics, faster and reliable delivery of goods, and ambitions for expansion of their market to Eastern Europe and beyond, make it necessary to bring rail freight back on track. This means that together, the Sector and the political institutions have to rethink the business model of freight transportation along the supply chain and to seek solutions to reduce costs and time-to-market for rail freight services making rail more competitive and more efficient.
Minister Graziano DELRIO, pointed out the need for Italy to change towards more efficient and sustainable mobility. With more than 90% of transport volumes relying on road and the costs of inefficient logistic supplies evaluated at 30 to 40bn EUR, he, as a former medical researcher, highlighted the necessity to cure the country with iron and water. A strategic treatment in favour of ports and railways which shall allow Italy to achieve the modal shift objectives of the European Union not by 2030, but by 2021 already.
David SASSOLI, member of the European Parliament and the rapporteur on the governance pillar of the 4th railway package, focussed on the need for Europe to remain united in order to cope with the challenges faced by companies when conducting business internationally within globally competing markets. The agreement on the political pillar of the 4th railway package is for him an excellent example of what can be achieved when all work together towards more cooperation, more open markets and as such more Europe. He remains confident that when the political pillar is eventually approved by the end of the year, the links between European countries will be reinforced.
Dr. Heiko FISCHER, CEO of VTG Group and President of UIP, stressed the fact that we are at crossroads for freight transport. He pointed out the need not only for railways to become more innovative and more efficient but also for railway decisions to be addressed within a European framework. He highlighted the necessity to reduce the cost and regulatory burden in rail and to double the efforts towards simplification and the removing of unnecessary and outdated rules to compensate the negative effects of new regulation. He pointed out UIP’s commitment to work with its member associations towards implementing the new legislations in a harmonised way and concluded by emphasising the importance of making rail freight more attractive, more competitive and as such a success story for shippers and end-customers.
You can find the pictures of this conference dinner here.