Under the chairmanship of Clemens Först, CEO of Rail Cargo Group (Austria), the UIC Freight Forum was held remotely on 19 May 2020.
In the context of the Green Deal, Clemens Först pointed out the importance of the vision to transform Rail Freight into a high performing, efﬁcient and sustainable backbone transport system for a European multimodal logistics industry. The current challenges the logistics sector is facing due to Covid-19 only emphasise this need.
Sector alignment is key in order to proceed with the next steps for the ambitious target “30 by 2030” of the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) initiative. In the short history of RFF, the sector records a number of achievements, but also needs to make an effort to position itself and increase the visibility of the Rail Freight sector.
François Davenne, Director General of UIC, stressed the importance of positioning Rail Freight as the backbone of logistics for EU freight, whereas the correct framework, including funding schemes, for a thriving Rail Freight sector in Europe is prerequisite.
Even though the freight sector currently faces several challenges, at the same time it pushes towards digitalisation, which is assessed as an opportunity by Dmitry Verbov (RZD), Vice-President UIC Freight Forum, and will clearly add value for rail operators to fulfil their role as the backbone of intermodal supply chains.
The vision and mission of the Freight Forum in the context of the three-year work programme outlined and presented by Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director, builds on four priorities: Interoperability and Capacity Optimisation, Digitisation through Standardisation and Data Exchange, Safety & Security, Productivity Enhancement. The activities and projects managed within the Freight Forum are done in constant exchange with the environment we are working in.
Taking our constant exchange and the value of this into account, the meeting was concluded with a workshop session on “Rail Outreach” on enhancing the outreach of rail, while using the activities and synergies of the Freight Forum work programme.
As a next step, a roadmap with a concrete action plan will serve as a basis to scale up our activities under the umbrella of RFF “30 by 2030”, reaching out to key stakeholders who are on the supplier (Infrastructure Managers) and customer (Shippers) side.
In this way we will enhance our activities as a driver behind modal shift and more environmentally-friendly mobility for the future.