UIRR Newsletter Q1.2020: Coronavirus: threats and opportunities 04/05/20

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Coronavirus: threats and opportunities

With most of the disturbances that clouded over the last quarter of 2019 gone and prior to the coronavirus outbreak hitting hard, Combined Transport performed relatively well by generally matching the performance of a year earlier during the first three months of 2020.  The quarterly CT Performance Gauge shows a slight positive year-on-year performance after two consecutive quarters of decline.

The adverse economic effects of the pandemic-related shutdown of the European economy, regrettably, are foreseen to weigh heavily on Combined Transport as well. While the entire intermodal sector is working hard to maintain services and to acquire new customers, the sentiment of CT actors for the next 12-month period has declined to ‘negative’.

Finding the solution to the macroeconomic imbalance that emerged in the surface freight transport market, due to a combination of the record low oil price and the easings of European rules of the profession that were granted to the trucking sector, is presently the greatest challenge.  Like the rest of the economy, the intermodal sector will need external assistance in this endeavour, which is exacerbated by a simultaneous decline in both revenues and profitability.  UIRR formulated several proposals towards the EU policymakers and the Member States, which are hoped to be pursued.

UIRR has been busy assisting in the resolution of operational difficulties at the start of the lockdown and supporting the communication effort to underline the resilient functioning of Combined Transport – also on cross-border relations.

The period has presented longer-term challenges requiring equal attention.  Concerning Mobility Package 1, the European Council proceeded with officially endorsing the trialogue deal without any changes.  The new paragraph 7 in Regulation 1072/2009, invented behind the closed doors of the trialogue, would severely undermine existing CT chains by allowing Member States to suspend the legal equivalence between cross-border road haulage and its corresponding Combined Transport alternative enshrined in Article 4 of the CT Directive.  The sector hopes that the second reading in the European Parliament will offer if not a deletion then at least an opportunity to correct this anomaly by making the provision a truly extraordinary regulatory option only to be used under extraordinarily unique and proven conditions for only as long as these conditions prevail.

Reformulated temporary compensatory measures to Combined Transport have been announced in the United Kingdom, while the extension of support until 2023 was announced in France.  Germany introduced a special incentive scheme to assist the buyers of craneable semi-trailers by covering the price difference charged for craneability of the equipment.  UIRR has been advocating for Europe-wide standardised compensatory measures and a single European portal for publishing these.

UIRR welcomes new members CFL Terminals, East-West IL, Samskip and Terminali Italia, while Crokombi ceased its activities and Amber Rail transferred its membership to GYSEV Cargo.  Equimodal of Zaragoza, Spain has become the latest Partner of our association.  As of 2020, UIRR is donned with 71 members, partners and national peer associations based in 18 European countries.

Ralf-Charley Schultze – President

CONTENTS

Germany to spend €12,2bn on rail infrastructure in 2020 (2)

UK freight network disrupted by high number of derailments (2)

Coronavirus: rail traffic from China has come to a halt (2)

New 3rd track along Swiss line to aid freight (2)

Freight trains prioritised in Norway and in the United Kingdom (2)

European Commission proposes 2021 as EU Year of Rail (2)

Amendment of CT Directive withdrawn (2)

Swiss National Council appropriates more funding for modal shift (2)

Need to correct regulation-related EU freight market imbalances (3)

New types of cargo carried in transcontinental intermodal rail (3)

Compensatory measures to CT in France, Germany and the UK (3)

Port of Hamburg reaches record rail intermodal volumes in 2019 (3)

Construction of huge new terminal starts in The Netherlands (3)

New rail intermodal record reached on the tracks in Poland (3)

Coronavirus: Combined Transport is prepared (3)

Personnel News (4)

Members' News (4)

Key Dates & Events (4)

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UIRR NL Q1.2020 EN
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