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21 October 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 03:04 GMT+2

October 4, 2021

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ESPO, EIM, ERFA and CER underline the need to prioritise rail projects that improve the port-rail connectivity

It is essential - they explain - to increase the share of goods transported by rail

Most European ports are located near urban settlements with high pressure on the network road, which makes the increase in the use of freight transport by rail a necessary choice for many of these ports. The highlight today, on the occasion of the arrival in Rotterdam and Antwerp of Connecting Europe Express, one of the most important initiatives important of the European Year of Railways, the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO), the European Rail Infrastructure Manager (EIM), the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure (CER) presenting a joint declaration calling for more attention to connectivity between the rail network and the harbours.

In the declaration, the four associations stress that the increase in the share of rail freight transport will constitute an important factor in achieving the objectives of the Green Deal of the EU and, therefore, should be a central point of the Year European Railways. 'The modal shift - they specify ESPO, EIM, ERFA and CER - is one of the main pillars of the the European Commission's strategy to achieve a reduction in 90% of greenhouse gas emissions from transport in order to achieve the EU's climate objectives. In Europe a wide share of rail freight transport passes through its ports seafarers; however, the distribution of rail connections with the hinterland varies greatly: some seaports record a modal split close to 50% in favour of the railway. Improving port-rail links on a larger scale, both in structural and operational terms - the associations take over - it is therefore essential to increase the share of goods transported by rail.'

To that end, ESPO, EIM, ERFA and CER observe that 'the Connecting Europe Facility, in particular, should promoting rail projects that improve connectivity to and from European seaports, given that the improvement of Links will bring direct benefits in terms of efficiency for a significant share of rail freight transport'.

"Improving the last mile in terms of interoperability, data exchange, activities and infrastructure - underlines Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO - should be a top priority to bring more freight on rail. We need conditions of equal access to public funding for the necessary infrastructure investments, regardless of the the fact that the managing body of the port or the operator of the national railway infrastructure is responsible the railway infrastructure within the port.'

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