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"The Rail Industry is Firmly on Target to Achieve a 25 Percent Share of the Freight Market," said VPI Chairman Malte Lawrenz

&quote;The Rail Industry is Firmly on Target to Achieve a 25 Percent Share of the Freight Market,&quote; said VPI Chairman Malte Lawrenz
photo: VPI Hamburg / Public domain/VPI symposium
10 / 01 / 2024

The VPI symposium "Growth Opportunities for Sustainable Rail Freight," which took place on January 9th in Hamburg, was attended by almost 300 participants.

The symposium focused on infrastructure modernisation and combined transport. Service company VPI VERS is expanding its service offering and is now authorised as an ECM certifier. "We need to stay the course and continue to modernise Germany's rail infrastructure as planned. It is the Achilles heel of the industry when it comes to ensuring more quantity and quality on the railways," said VPI Chairman Malte Lawrenz at the opening of the 14th VPI Symposium in Hamburg.

It was an important signal that the federal government wants to secure budgetary resources for the railways now and in the future - especially in view of the planned savings following last year's Karlsruhe ruling. Lawrenz stressed, "The rail industry is still firmly on course to achieve a twenty-five percent share of the freight market." He was pleased to see that this also seems to apply to politicians.

VPI Hamburg / Public domain

In his welcoming speech, the Chairman informed that VPI Servicegesellschaft VERS had just received approval from the Federal Office of Railways as an ECM certification body. This is another building block in the expansion of VERS' service offering, which will in future offer ISO and ECM certification and technical assessment from a single source. The training programme, which is in great demand, will also be further expanded. To align it closely with the needs of the industry, VPI Servicegesellschaft is launching an online survey aimed at vehicle managers and workshops in the sector.

The theme of infrastructure renewal played a central role in the contributions and discussions during the morning part of the symposium. Corinna Salander, Head of Rail at the Department for Transport, presented her organisation's focus for the coming year. Peter Westenberger, CEO of Die Güterbahnen, reviewed the opportunities offered by the new infrastructure company InfraGo. Maria Leenen from SCI explained what she believes needs to be done to make the railway grow.

VPI Hamburg / Public domain

The afternoon focused on intermodal transport as a driver of rail growth. After the keynote speech by Mikhail Stahlhut (Hupac), Torben Jaeger (VTG), Peter Reinshagen (Ermewa) and Karsten Elstner (Kaminski) discussed how the rolling stock and maintenance must evolve to develop the growth segment of combined transport.

The one-day symposium concluded with a presentation by Matthias Knüpling (VTG/UIP) on current European developments regarding digital automatic coupling. On the evening before the symposium, the traditional New Year's reception was attended by around 450 guests, a new record. Both formats have seen a steady increase in the number of attendees for several years, which is why they were held for the first time this year at a new venue, the Emporio Tower in Hamburg.

Source: VPI press release