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Combined Transport Faces Q1 Challenges Amid Global Disruptions

Combined Transport Faces Q1 Challenges Amid Global Disruptions
photo: UIRR / Public domain/Railway tracks
16 / 05 / 2024

The first three months of 2024 saw a small decline in Combined Transport performance as the conditions are slowly stabilizing. The disruption to global container flows, some strikes, infrastructure works-related disturbances, and the continued weak performance of the EU economy have weighed on Combined Transport, while some markets have started to show a rebound already.

The business sentiment of CT decision-makers has been upgraded to ”neutral”, which indicates optimism that the economy will stabilize, that externally caused disruptions will gradually dissipate, and that the Gotthard and Frejus lines will return to normal operations in autumn. The unlikely coincidence of serious disruptions, which characterized the previous year, should be behind us.

The final months of the European Parliament’s mandate delivered the revised TEN-T Guidelines Regulation and first reading positions on the Weights and Dimensions Directive revision and the new CountEmissionsEU Regulation. The new TEN-T Regulation now includes two critical key performance indicators on freight train punctuality and border crossing and prescribes deadlines for technical parameters such as a 4-meter loading gauge, electrification, and 740-meter train length.

Deliberations about the Combined Transport Directive (CTD) revision, as well as the Weights and Dimensions Directive (WDD) revision, and about the new Rail Capacity Regulation continued in the Transport Council. While the European Parliament’s first reading positions of the last two have been adopted, the deliberation about the Combined Transport Directive could only be started. UIRR delivered its position paper dedicated to the definition of combined transport operation offering a constructive and pragmatic compromise to the Commission’s proposal.

Empirical evidence of a successful modal shift was presented on the 30th anniversary of the Alpine Initiative. Simultaneously, convincing data was published on the modal shift progress in the ports of Northern Germany. UIRR advocates for the policy updates that will result in a positive change in the modal shift indicator: the creation of a level regulatory playing field through the internalization of external costs and fair infrastructure charging, the completion of long overdue rail infrastructure upgrades and effective compensatory state aid measures to bridge the period until completion.

Digitalization initiatives are progressing in the background such as the modernization of the Cesar/Next tracking and tracing platform, the integration of terminals into the RNE Train Information System environment, the launch of the modernized ILU-Code website, and the new UIRR Code Management Portal. The implementation of the Electronic Freight Transport Information Regulation (eFTI) is also progressing with the launch of the eFTI4EU Project to support the eFTI preparations of Member States.

Source: UIRR Press Releases