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Decarbonizing Transport: The Urgent Need for an EU-Wide Intermodal Freight Strategy

Decarbonizing Transport: The Urgent Need for an EU-Wide Intermodal Freight Strategy
photo: Archive/Decarbonizing Transport: The Urgent Need for an EU-Wide Intermodal Freight Strategy
04 / 04 / 2023

With freight transport currently being the fastest and most efficient transport in the EU, trains and ships are significantly behind it. The EU must start solving this problem as quickly as possible if the EU aims to fulfil its ecological ambitions.

The most used mode of transport is road transport, which is the fastest and cheapest, as a result of which three-quarters of the freight transported in the EU is transported by road, despite trucks being the main polluters. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU provided more than EUR 1.1 billion to support the development of intermodal transport.

To decarbonize transport, it is necessary to divert traffic from roads and strengthen the use of rail and inland water transport. The latest detections of the European Court of Auditors showed that the EU currently does not have any specialized strategy for intermodal freight transport. EU states to create their own strategies at the national level, but these goals are not in line with EU goals. For the years 2030 to 2050, the EU has decided to increase the use of rail and water transport by up to 50%.

The development of intermodal transport is also hindered by outdated and ineffective EU legislation. The European Commission has already struggled several times to revise the directive on combined transport but has not received the agreement of the member states. The auditors also see another problem in the delay of EU countries in harmonizing national legislation with the technical requirements established by EU law. The revision of the regulation on the trans-European transport network TEN-T, the current version of which was adopted back in 2013, has the potential to improve the situation.

For a closer understanding:‚Ä®Intermodal freight transport is a type of transport that consists of transporting goods in one loading unit without separate handling. Combined modes of transport such as road, rail, water, or air are used in it.

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