Press releases

Railway Sector Declaration on Boosting International Rail Freight

Today the rail sector and its customers, represented by CER, CLECAT, EIM, ERFA, ERTMS Users Group, ESC, UIP, UIRR, and UNIFE, and supported by the Rail Freight Corridors, presented a declaration at the TEN-T Days in Rotterdam, committing themselves to the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of the Rail Freight Corridors for the benefit of all customers, and to improving the quality, reliability and efficiency of transporting goods by rail across Europe.

The sector declaration complements the one presented by the Transport Ministers of the EU member states, and seeks to boost the development of rail freight transport. Both declarations were presented at the Business Conference on Rail Freight Corridors organised during the TEN-T Days in Rotterdam on 21 June 2016.

The sector declaration identifies important measures which are needed to improve the competitiveness of the Rail Freight Corridors in order to make rail freight a more attractive option for all customers, to enhance the operational efficiency of rail freight operators, and to ensure adequate capacity for all users. One such measure includes a single list of important operational issues to be resolved for improving international rail freight, updated annually by the advisory groups of railway undertakings, and proposed to rail freight corridors in order to support their action plan. Additionally, the corridors will continue providing and improving an adequate, generic and comparable set of key performance indicators (KPIs) on the quality of service at regular intervals, and in consultation with the stakeholders, taking into account already existing work carried out by the sector.

Finally, the rail sector associations have committed to report on the results of the actions agreed in the declaration on a regular basis.

All signatories of the declaration jointly state:"The sector declaration, in combination with the ministerial declaration, is an unprecedented effort to increase the competitiveness of international rail freight, unlocking its growth potential, and promoting rail's key role in a sustainable transport system. It shows that the European rail sector and member states are pulling together on the same string with a common goal in mind: boosting international rail freight for the benefit of the whole sector, particularly shippers and other end-users. All parties are committed to working together towards that goal."

UIP debates a bright future for rail freight with Italian representatives from the freight sector, Minister Graziano Delrio and MEP David Sassoli

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.

Joint Statement on EU financing on Transport

More CEF for transport: the best Investment Plan for Europe

In the light of the current negotiations on the review of the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), together with other European Transport associations across all modes, UIP calls for safeguarding the EU budget for transport.
The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the financial lifeline of the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T). However, a high number of high-quality projects were rejected due to insufficient EU budget. And this is an unbearable risk not only for current and future growth and jobs but also for the development of a European rail network for competitive freight.
The transport sector is making its best efforts to take advantage of the financial instruments including EFSI and will continue to do so. However, many projects facing important financial gaps are not bankable but they provide strong societal returns on investment.
It is vital to have the necessary means to make the TEN-T network into a smart and well thought transport system.
With this leaflet, the transport sector urges the European Parliament and the Council to increase the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) budget in the upcoming review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework.