Thursday 25 February 2010

Maximising the potential of Rail Freight: driving intermodal shift

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At the initiative of the UIRR and of Mr Dirk Sterckx, member of the Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Committee of the European Parliament, a luncheon-presentation was organized at the European Parliament on February 23rd , at the occasion of the February 2010 session of the TRAN Committee, about Combined Transport (CT) and its urgently needed recovery. The event was attended by a number of members of the European Parliament and by numerous representatives of stakeholders.

Eric Peetermans, from SNCB-Holding, and Chairman of the UIC Combined Transport Group, was one of the guest speakers. He took the opportunity to remind the fundamentals of the DIOMIS 1 and 2 projects and to make some points regarding the stakes and challenges of CT in a post-crisis perspective, for 2015 and beyond.

In particular, he pinpointed the purpose of DIOMIS, the tremendous traffic level achieved by CT by 2007 (a fivefold increase since 1988), its growth perspectives post crisis (doubling its 2005 volumes by 2018, once recovery sets in), the network and terminal capacity and productivity challenges that will need to be resolved, the regulatory framework needed and the necessary intensified cooperation with the Infrastructure Managers and between all stakeholders in general.

Mr Colle, Director General of the UIRR, described the performance, achievements and requirements of the CT Operators and underlined the boundary conditions to be achieved by the authorities, national and European.

Mr Sterckx stated in conclusion that this was a good time to discuss the issues underlined by Mr Colle and Mr Peetermans, and also Mr Castelletti from the EU Commission, as the EU Parliament is about to resume its discussions about fundamental rail freight related issues, like the Draft Regulation on a Priority Freight Network.

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