Transport sector makes recommendations for EU Green Deal

Fifteen organisations from the transport sector have called for a bold and realistic European Green Deal in a joint announcement. They welcome the Green Deal, but also state that its success will depend on the regulatory framework and financial instruments that will be mobilised.

The European associations represent logistics service providers, seaport and inland port authorities, shippers, inland waterways, combined transport operators, rail freight operators, port operators and terminal operators, marine equipment manufacturers and shipyards. The transport sector plays a vital role in achieving Europe’s ambitions: to reduce emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030 and to transform its economy to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Reductions in transport

Commenting on the the reductions in the transport sector, the organisations lay out several methods: replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuels, alternative propulsion systems, improving the energy efficiency of the transport means (vehicles, vessels) and boosting the energy efficiency of the entire transport system. “This should be done without compromising industry standards with respect to health and safety.

“Reference can be made here to WATERBORNE (European Technology Platform) and similar initiatives such as ETP-ALICE which recommends necessary measures for an overarching view on logistics and supply chain planning and control, in which shippers and logistics service providers closely collaborate to reach efficient logistics and supply chain operations”, they recommend.


The organisations also emphasise the necessity for modalities to join forces. “The Green Deal should be used as an opportunity to agree upon a legal framework that promotes a sustainable combination of all transport modes, taking the strengths and limitations inherent to each mode of transport into account. Combining rail, road, short sea shipping, inland waterways and air transport in a smart and efficient way will enable the further reduction of negative externalities.

This is crucial given that supply chain management, starting from an end to end perspective, whereby managers of both manufacturers and service providers try to find a balance between the use of different transport modes , warehousing and inventory level in order to satisfy their own objectives and the service levels required by their customers, eventually leads to cost optimisation and to GHG-emissions. In the same line of thinking, non-technological initiatives to decarbonise, such as multimodality should be encouraged in the perspective of end to end supply chains.”

Legal limitations

The statement also tackles the limitations of current legal texts, such as the TEN-T Regulation, the Rail Freight Corridor Regulation, the Combined Transport Directive, and the Eurovignette Directive. “A comprehensive strategy for sustainable and smart mobility should look to revise key legal texts. Furthermore, eliminating administrative and regulatory burdens hampering an efficient use of transport modes or negatively influencing the choice for a certain mode of transport will also be important to achieve a reduction of adverse impacts.”

The text goes on pointing out that the industry will need support with tailored and easily accessible programmes to achieve the goals. It lays out what type of support is needed for which innovations. The development and uptake of new technologies will be imperative to achieve the European Green Deal ambitions and targets, it believes.

“Given the wide range of possibilities and technologies being explored as well as the diversity and complexity of transport modes, it is important to have a policy and regulatory framework in place that promotes innovation in a technologically neutral way, and helps in sharing knowledge as well as the financial and operational risks of the development and deployment of new technologies. European partnerships in this respect are and will remain key.

Right mindset

However, equally important for becoming successful is the mindset that will lead all stakeholders to focus on a better integrated transport system rather than on stand-alone transport modes and other logistic services, the organisations believe.

And, the EU should “be able to play a leadership role in convincing non-EU countries to engage in the same direction. The associations therefore welcome the Commission’s efforts to enhance its “green deal diplomacy” and to convince other governments to set bold climate targets thus guaranteeing a level playing field.”

Supporting associations

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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