UIRR’s Combined Transport Roadmap 2050 23/01/13

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The European Road-Rail Combined Transport sector is facing multiple challenges: (i) fierce price-competition for demand negatively affected by the economic crisis on the short run, while (ii) the challenge presented in the 2011 EU Transport White Paper, which set the aim of shifting 30% of long(er) distance road haulage tonne-kilometres (covering distances of 300km or more) to sustainable modes by 2030 and 50% by 2050.  These challenges are complicated by the fundamental restructuring of the European rail sector, a strategic subcontractor of Combined Transport, with the aims of eliminating the obstacles to improving quality, and improving the competitiveness of rail transport services.

UIRR, the International Union  for Combined Transport, drafted a Position Paper titled Combined Transport Roadmap 2050, which summarises the actions that are deemed necessary for Combined Transport to successfully champion these challenges and deliver the performance expected of it.


UIRR Chairman, Mr Robert Breuhahn, presented this paper to
Director-General DG MOVE, Mr Mathias Ruete during a meeting on 22 January 2013.


The proposed measures were collected into four parts as shown below:

  • Part I. - Enhancing the quality of rail freight services: more transparency, more competition, new concepts to enable a more efficient traffic management, reinforced European-level resources to aid the structural transition of the sector
  • Part II.   Extension of infrastructure capacities: uniform loading gauge profile (P400 or UIC GC), train length (750m) and axle load (22,5t) throughout rail freight corridors, measurement of the existing loading gauge on critical lines, intensive capacity extension through ERTMS and removal of bottlenecks, construction of dedicated freight tracks, urban bypasses and encouragement of the building of new (open-access) terminal capacities
  • Part III. A level intermodal playing-field: introduction of mandatory distance based infrastructure access charging with an infrastructure scarcity element, internalisation of externalities through an overriding reform of transport taxation, maintain the ban on cross-border circulation of megatrucks
  • Part IV. Catalysing the continued dynamic development of Combined Transport: maintain 44t gross vehicle weight and existing driving ban exceptions for trucks performing CT positioning legs and exempt them from certain internalisation surcharges, mandate the CT accessibility of industrial and commercial sites not connected to the rail network, restructure the Marco Polo programme, provide guidance to the efficient channelling of state-aid, and encourage the proliferation of craneable semi-trailers.


UIRR is convinced that the long-term growth rate of Combined Transport can come back to the level of 6-7% annually, which was realised during the decade preceding the economic crisis, if the appropriate measures and necessary investments are made. This would be necessary to achieve the EU target for modal shift to sustainable modes of land transport.

Related documents
CT Roadmap 2050 EN