Press release: Preemptive government action should not undermine CT in DK 20/05/21

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Preemptive government action should not undermine CT in Denmark

The Danish government decided1 to suspend the equivalence between cross-border (long distance) trucking and its equivalent Combined Transport (CT) operation – enshrined in Article 4 of the CT Directive2 since 1975.  The measure will take effect on 21 February 2022.

Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht was tasked to balance social considerations, alleged abuse of the cabotage-free running of domestic road legs linked to border-crossing CT operations, and environmental considerations focused on the need to decarbonise transport.  His choice was to go for a measure that has been proven destructive to Combined Transport in two recent studies3 – one ordered by the European intermodal sector and another one drafted for the European Commission.

Transportminister Benny Engelbrecht (S) / Foto: Jens Dresling/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision was taken despite openly admitting that

  • Data is not very good today concerning the existence of major problems in the area of Combined Transport,
  • The government’s decision is about “preventing a potential problem”,
  • The perceived regulatory loophole would only need to be addressed until the technologies for more effective enforcement – e.g. the smart tachograph and a register for foreign road hauliers in Denmark – are introduced.

Combined Transport has a carbon footprint that is up to 70% lower than road-only long-distance transport.  This is due to the energy efficiency of electric rail and waterborne modes employed on the longest section of the carriage.  Moreover, Combined Transport has the easiest path to becoming a zero-carbon freight transport solution by 2030.

The government of Denmark nevertheless took a decision that will most certainly result in higher carbon emissions through more trucking within Denmark and its neighbouring countries.

While UIRR strongly supports efficient and consequential enforcement practices, we also believe that the decarbonisation task ahead of the European transport sector cannot be overcome without much more electric railway transport – made possible by intermodal transhipment techniques.  Therefore, the measure taken by the Danish government should be accompanied by a transparent list of conditions, upon fulfilment of which the adherence to Article 4 of the CTD can be restored in Denmark, as well as a robust monitoring scheme that regularly collects the empirical evidence on the developments in the surface freight transport sector.

UIRR requests that the Danish government introduce a Combined Transport development and support programme, which includes a cost compensation to the organisers of Combined Transport to counterbalance the damage its decision to suspend Article 4 of the CT Directive will cause.






Preemptive government action should not undermine CT in Denmark

Documents correspondants
UIRR PR DK action against CT EN