Journal indépendant d'économie et de politique des transports
CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero OTTOBRE 2020
INTERMODALITY AS A LOW-CARB DIET FOR EUROPE
"Europe needs a low-carb diet". This was one of
the statements made at the European Intermodal Summit 2020. It
doesn't refer to an actual nutritional value. Instead, it was used
by Hupac's CEO Michail Stahlut to refer to the de-carbonisation of
transport that constitutes one of the main goals of the intermodal
sector in Europe.
The belief in a strong intermodal footprint is now more
un-shakable than ever. Even though there is much work ahead to
establish such a 'low-carb diet' for Europe, the first steps have
already been made, and future seems promising. This was con-cluded
during the online edition of the summit, which took place on Tuesday
27 October. The speakers engaged in a constructive dialogue, where
they shared insights on the main challenges that the intermodal
sector faced and continues facing. Among the addressed issues:
infrastructures, sustainability and the modal shift to rail.
"Our aim to increase intermodal transport is a doable
objective that we can all share", mentioned Magda Kopczynska
(Director of DG Move), while summarising the discussion. Indeed,
many of the speakers stretched the importance of a shift towards
inter-modal transportation and how Europe can achieve that in the
short term. "Intermodal is not as complex as it sounds",
said Ralf-Charley Schultze (President-UIRR), meaning that with
certain moves and a shared vision, intermodality is a target that
can be achieved smoothly.
Past and present challenges
The core scope of the summit directed towards the challenges
that the intermodal sector has faced throughout the years.
Regar-ding the past, there was a mention of problems such as
intercon-tinental connections and oil dependency.
With regards to the present and with an eye to the future,
Schul-tze commented that "the future is definitely intermodal".
Howe-ver, specific points need to be addressed and resolved. For
in-stance, the sector needs to implement sustainable, zero-carbon
transport solutions. Besides, there is a need to manage the
e-commerce boom, taking place lately, and provide solutions that
concern urbanisation and increased population density. Further-more,
labour shortage and geographic connectedness are equally important.
"Intermodal is the sustainable solution"
"Intermodality is one of the main pillars of sustainable
strate-gies", said Adina-Ioana Valean (Commissioner of
Transport), in the opening session of the summit. She also pointed
out the criti-cal changes that need to be implemented as soon as
possible. These include the reduction of distances in road
transport, digiti-sation, more investments in terminal
infrastructure, and moderni-sation of the rules in road pricing. On
the same tone, Clemens Först ( CEO of Rail Cargo Group) stated
that the intermodal sector needs "highly performing
infrastructure and fair economic conditions" to develop even
more in the future. Livio Ambrogio (President-Ambrogio Intermodal)
supported the same point.
Another need that got highlighted during the discussion was that
of a standard European policy that will not be discarded by
na-tional-scale policies. Specifically, as Peter Kiss (CEO of
Me-trans) said, "it is necessary to put down one strategy for
everyo-ne". In this way, the shift to intermodal transportation
will requi-re less effort and will provide the needed space for a
change from trail to rail services. Finally, speakers shared the
idea that the implementation of solutions could be more effective if
first tried in small and region-scale initiatives.
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