In its 2001 White Paper, the European Commission mentions a 38% rise in the European domestic freight market (all transport modes included) over the next ten years. It predicts a rail freight market share of 15% in the year 2020 and therefore expects the rail mode to play a significant part in the modal shift needed to sustain the mobility, the environment and the competitiveness of the European economy.
This premise led the Combined Transport Group of the UIC, in partnership with the UIRR, to commission a study on the infrastructure capacity reserves of the European rail network which highlighted that, in the current context of infrastructure saturation, in order to realise the modal shift towards rail advocated by the EU in its White Paper, several measures need to be taken. These measures range from investments in rail and terminal infrastructure, technical-operational improvements, to the fostering of the working procedures of all the stakeholders in combined transport rail-road.
With the Diomis study, the partners wanted then to investigated how more efficient management, operating and working procedures may help towards:
- de-saturation of the rail network
- de-saturation of intermodal terminals
- modal shift in favour of rail.