Press releases

CER/ERFA/FEPORT/UIP/UIRR press release: Council abandoning European Combined Transport

The Council negotiating position (general approach) regarding the amendment of the Combined Transport Directive, adopted on Monday 3 December, would put in danger the currently existing harmonized common market for Combined Transport (CT).
Few weeks after the Graz Declaration of 7 November, which promotes a “Green Deal for Europe”, one week after the European Commission announced its proposal to turn Europe climate neutral by 2050 and right at the beginning of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, the Council position effectively disintegrates the European regulatory framework of Combined Transport.

The Combined Transport Directive has always been an instrumental enabler of CT operations. The Directive in its current form may be imperfect, but it describes uniform rules for CT within the EU Common Market. As 85% of CT trains cross at least one internal border of the EU, it is exceptionally important that the same rules apply on both sides of all internal borders within the European Union. The proposed changes to the CT Directive, if implemented, would undermine existing logistics chains.

Furthermore, shippers, logistics service providers, CT operators, terminal managers, railway undertakings and wagon keepers have extensively invested into Combined Transport solutions. The return on these investments would be highly in danger with such a legislation.

CER, ERFA, FEPORT, UIP and UIRR therefore express their deep concerns on how CT will remain competitive in a marketplace where homogeneous EU-wide rules are replaced by Member State choices while being burdened by extensive new enforcement obligations. The associations issuing this statement call on the Romanian Presidency to ensure wins for Combined Transport in the impending trialogue process and to align more closely with the ambition of the  European Parliament position.

Joint Rail sector press release: Rail - Europe's climate solution

Last week, the Graz Declaration promoting a ‘green deal’ for Europe was adopted under the Austrian Presidency at the Informal Meeting of Transport and Environment Ministers. The rail sector associations CER, EIM, ERFA, UIP, UIRR and UNIFE jointly welcome the new political initiative pushing for environment friendly transportation in Europe. Rail has a central role to play in providing environment and climate-friendly transport and helping Europe meet its sustainability challenges, and remains the best solution for promoting safe, clean and green mobility.
The Austrian Presidency’s Graz Declaration, supported by EU Transport and Environment Ministers, signals a new political commitment to promoting a Green Deal for Europe. The Ministers agreed to develop actions that complete the TEN-T rail core network, increase the efficiency and attractiveness of rail transport by removing all the barriers to interoperability, and strengthening the digitalization and automation in the sector. As the greenest and safest mode of land transport, rail provides a significant contribution to the EU economy and to the completion of the Single Market. At a time when transport remains a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, the European rail associations reaffirm their strong support for the EU priorities and objectives of greening transport, and their willingness to work towards increasing the efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of all EU citizens.
The European rail sector is committed to delivering a modern rail system that responds to customer needs, providing both quality and cost-effective rail services. Under pressure from fast-paced technological developments and environmental efforts in the other transport modes, the rail sector is determined to maintain rail transport at the forefront of the green agenda and to continuously build on our strong safety record.
Support is needed at all levels – local, regional, national and European, in order to maximise rail’s full potential to the benefit of citizens, society and the economy. The success of the EU low emission policy, getting more goods off road and onto rail, depends on strategic investments in rail and multi-modal infrastructure, a level playing field for all modes of transport, the removal of national barriers to the Single European Railway Area and efforts to enhance rail’s performance, by promoting digitalisation and use of standardised data and interfaces to address cost and quality issues.
CER, EIM, ERFA, UIP, UIRR and UNIFE share the view that the Graz Declaration can mark the beginning of a new era of clean, safe and affordable mobility for the benefit of Europe’s citizens, the environment, and society at large, and reiterate the importance of keeping rail at the heart of national and EU policies for a decarbonized and clean transportation of the future. The rail sector stands ready to intensify its collaborative efforts in acting as a backbone of a sustainable mobility in Europe.

UIP Symposium 2018 ‒ Turning Digitalisation into Performance

In the framework of its 68th General Assembly UIP held a symposium on TURNING DIGITALISATION INTO PERFORMANCE on 24th of May at Palais Ferstel in Vienna. The Symposium brought together more than 100 high level representatives of wagon keepers, railway undertakings, shippers, policy makers and national associations from all over Europe. It offered the opportunity to openly discuss and exchange views with the European Commission, Shift2Rail and national authorities about strategic aspects of digitalisation and the necessity to identify common priorities for rail freight to embrace digitalisation and become more competitive.
“Bringing the rail freight sector with its very diverse but mutually interdependent actors into the digital age is both the challenge and gigantic opportunity of our times” stated Dr. Heiko Fischer, UIP President and continued “the spirit of Vienna will translate into more joint projects and initiatives moving rail freight forward.”
In times of fierce competition within the national and international freight transport market, it is of essence for the rail freight sector to increase its cost-efficiency, flexibility and reliability. In this context, digitalisation was seen not only as an enabler towards these objectives but also as a necessity to make rail easier, develop multimodality, new services and meet customers’ demands. Introducing new realities and completely redesigning the processes are the key elements all rail freight actors will have to address together.