Intermodal as a way to make Europe independent of oil imports 22/04/22

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Source: Intermodal as a way to make Europe independent of oil imports - IntermodalNews IntermodalNews


Intermodal as a way to make Europe independent of oil imports



One intermodal freight train saves 4 times more CO2 emissions than a high-speed passenger train. However, freight rail is not of such interest to decision-makers and public opinion in the European Union in climate policy debates. Meanwhile, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its economic consequences clearly show us that dependence on fossil fuels must be reduced.

Photo: Pixabay

The German Federal Office for the Environment has carried out an analysis of the carbon footprint of different modes of transport and possible options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of passenger transport, CO2 emissions are 147 g per passenger-kilometre and rail 32 g CO/pkm. One train with 400 passengers emits 7.7 t of CO2 when covering 600 km. The same number of cars, in turn, 35.3 t. This means that switching 400 people from cars to trains saves 27.6 tons of CO2.

In turn, one container train emits 18 g of CO2 per tonne-kilometer, and cars transporting the same amount of cargo 112 g per tkm. With 600 km of travel, the CO2 emissions for the train are 7.3 t and for cars 37.9 t. This means that intermodal transport reduces 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than passenger transport. If we take into account the fact that a high-speed train occupies 3 times more sections of railway lines, intermodal railways reduce 4 times more GHG emissions than passenger railways.

Zero-emission future

A study carried out last year by d-fine on behalf of the International Union of Combined Road and Rail Transport (UIRR) shows that on some popular intermodal relations, the reduction in CO2 emissions compared to road transport is up to 90%. What's more, it is already possible to organize completely zero-emission door-to-door transport using railways and electric trucks. Soon, such services will be provided by some European operators such as Metrans.

Read also: Metrans to introduce an electric truck for container transport in Hungary

Pomimo wyraźnych korzyści transport kombinowany nie cieszy się takim zainteresowaniem decydentów jak inwestycje w koleje pasażerskie, co przejawia się chociażby w fakcie opracowania przez Komisję Europejską w ubiegłym roku Planu Działań na rzecz transgranicznych kolei pasażerskich. Podobny dokument nie powstał dla transportu intermodalnego, mimo że zdecydowana większość usług przewozów kombinowanych ma charakter transgraniczny. Wojna w Ukrainie i problemy jakie przyniosło Europie uzależnienie od importowanych paliw kopalnych to obok kwestii klimatu kolejny mocny argument za rozwojem transportu intermodalnego.

"The unrivalled reduction in Europe's dependence on imported fossil fuels enables door-to-door combined transport. Intermodal transhipment already enables the efficient introduction of loads by electric rail into long-distance transport chains on an industrial scale for any type of cargo transported in trucks powered by fossil fuel engines. By drastically reducing the number of kilometres driven by trucks in Europe through greater use of combined transport, the continent could save many millions of tonnes of imported oil per year.

According to industry representatives, it is necessary to provide a gauge on the entire TEN-T network allowing the carriage of P 400 semi-trailers, adapt the infrastructure to trains with a length of 740 m and reduce the time to cross the internal borders of the EU to 15 minutes, which requires both infrastructural and organizational actions on the part of infrastructure managers.

Author: Łukasz Kuś