UIRR Press release: Intermodal message to EU Parliament 31/01/18

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Intermodal message to the European Parliament

UIRR teamed up with IANA, the Intermodal Association of North America, to bring the message of intermodal freight transport to the European Parliamentarians in Brussels through an exhibition opened yesterday.  Kindly hosted by the Honourable Wim van de Camp, EPP coordinator in the Transport and Tourism Committee, the exhibition was inaugurated by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc and a delegation from the Belgian Ministry of Transport, conveying the message of Minister François Bellot, in the presence of several Members of the European Parliament, high level officials of the European Commission and representatives of the sector.

Wim van de Camp welcomed the inauguration audience of the European Parliament by declaring the institutions’ strong preference for more intermodality and his personal support to pass the proposed amendments to the Combined Transport Directive.  Efficient insertion of non-road modes of transport, such as rail, inland waterways and short sea shipping, into land transport is strongly desired by the European Parliament as this can materially contribute to EU competitiveness.

Commissioner Violeta Bulc in her opening speech highlighted the role collaboration of transport modes embodied in intermodal will have to play in the drive to decarbonise and to drastically reduce the pollution and congestion caused primarily by road transport.  She underlined the need for regulatory solutions that make the joint functioning of a high number of diverse actors to fulfil a single transport assignment, which will focus on digitalisation and are expected to be part of the Third Mobility Package forecast to be unveiled in May.  The exhibition was designated the first freight event of the Commissioner’s Multimodal Year 2018 initiative.

Dirk Verdickt, Senior Advisor to Belgian Transport Minister François Bellot, conveyed the firm support of his Government to intermodality as this is viewed as the solution to solving Belgium’s significant road congestion and transport-related air pollution problems.  Intermodal transport is viewed as a major pillar of Belgium’s competitiveness and prosperity, while a significant contributor to the wellbeing of its people.

Phil Shook, the Leader of the IANA delegation, emphasised the need for intermodal actors on both sides of the Atlantic to exchange their best practice and thus learn from one another.  The relentless pursuit of ever improved services are the only guarantee for the continued success of intermodal in both North America and Europe.  IANA is ready to strengthen the exchange with UIRR that started with this exhibition in the European Parliament.

Ralf-Charley Schultze, UIRR’s President, stated that learning from each other in a globalized world must also be global. This is why UIRR reached out to its American counterpart, IANA.  It is the responsibility of every sector of the economy to do its best and improve its productivity and competitiveness.  In European transport, however, regulation and the states continue to play an accentuated role. Therefore, the sector alone cannot master the challenges that it faces.  Until the dismantling of government involvement in the daily affairs of transport does not happen, we must resort to what is second best: to inform politicians as thoroughly as we can about what goes on, so as to get the most rational decisions from them.  The exhibition that we put on sets exactly this aim, besides attesting to the desire to learn from each other.

After the official opening, the participants continued discussing multimodal transport and intermodality at the lunch debate organised by the European Logistics Platform.

The exhibition titled ‘Intermodal Transport in Europe and North America: What can we learn from each other?’ can be viewed this whole week on the 5th floor balcony of the Altiero Spinelli Building of the European Parliament.

The Exhibition Catalogue can be downloaded below:

Related documents
Intermodal Exhibition Catalogue EN
UIRR press release: intermodal message to EU Parliament EN
Intermodal Exhibition Panels EN