The FERRMED Conference on “Long and heavy trains, the way to EU Rail Freight Competitiveness” took place on 6 March at the EU Parliament in Brussels. The event was a real success with an audience of 250 people from the railway sector (wagon manufacturers, railways, infrastructure managers), customers and shippers (agro food sector, the chemical and automotive industry…), public representatives from the EU, and national and regional authorities.
FERRMED as multi-sector association is looking to:
- Enhance European competitiveness by promoting the so-called “FERRMED Standards”
- Improve port and airport connections with their respective hinterlands
- Assess the concept of the Great Rail Freight Axis between Scandinavia-Rhine-Rhone-Western Mediterranean
- Consolidate the major vectors of progress with other associations in the EU and neighbouring countries
The purpose of the conference was to analyse the economic advantages as well as infrastructure and rolling stock adaptation and fitting for long and heavy trains in the EU. Currently long and heavy trains are an important pending issue.
The FERRMED global study entrusted to a consortium of consultancy companies has demonstrated that the complete implementation of FERRMED standards involving trains of up to 1500m and 3600 to 5000 tonnes, with UIC loading gauge and 22.5 to 25 tonne axle load is the way to increase EU competitiveness to reverse the decreasing trend of railways in the EU.
The UIC Freight Department was represented by Bernard Schmitt. He outlined the main conclusions of the global study on Long and Heavy trains published last month covering five UIC regions. He gave details on the recommendations for combined traffic in the EU. He insisted on the conclusion of a step-by-step approach to run L&HT in the EU. He concluded that in each business case studied, the decision taken to increase the length and/or pay the load of a freight train was worth it.
For information the next FERRMED conference on “Les grands réseaux ferrés en Europe du sud” (Large railway networks in southern Europe) will be held at UIC HQ on 27 March 2013.