Free workshops at Freight and Terminal Forum

The first high-speed railway service for freight, the Swiss modal shift policy or the SBB-led project towards automated coupling; all these have in common that they are the topic of a workshop at the Freight and Terminal Forum, to be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands from 26-28 March.

Over 20 workshops are spread out over three days. They are free of charge for visitors of the Freight and Terminal Forum, which runs parallel to RailTech Europe 2019. Visitors to this event can join as well. The workshops are all relevant to the rail freight industry, with topics ranging from the latest railway innovation to political limitations in international railway trafffic.

Day 1

On the first day, a notable topic is that of the modal shift in Switzerland. A transportation and logistics expert will talk about the role of infrastructure investments like the new rail link though the Alps or the (co-)financing of terminals in Switzerland and abroad. He will discuss the challenges in long and midterm capacity allocation for freight traffic within Switzerland and on the Rhine Alpine Freight Corridor.

Another international speaker is Anja-Maria Sonntag of Swiss operator SBB Cargo. She will reveal the latest findings regarding the automatic center buffer coupling. “By now it is widely accepted within the community of European railways that it is worthwile to start a new attempt for this breakthrough technology for railfreight. In my presentation, I will discuss this Swiss approach and give first insights of a country-wide test traffic with automatic couplers”, she said.

Other interesting topics are the developments for 740-metre trains, the competition of Central and Eastern Europe for the European hinterland, smart single wagons, reduction of noise pollution and the advantages of rail in freight transport.

Day 2

The programme continues with another set of high-level workshops on Wednesday. For example, Italian freight operator Mercitalia will present the worlds’ first high-speed railway line for freight, called Mercitalia Fast. The company will explain how passenger coaches were adapted to provide this service, and what other steps were taken to realise this groundbreaking service.

Also on this day, Stephan Noll, Manager Corridor of the One-Stop-Shop at the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor will talk about a terminal pilot project which makes it possible to request international rail freight capacity (PaPs) with terminal slots in one single process. Ákos Érsek, Chief Policy Advisor of the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport will discuss EU legislation to facilitate the prosperity of intermodal freight shipping in Europe. Also on the agenda are topics as the refrigerated container, non-cranable trailers on rails and learnings from other modalities.

Day 3

Digitalisation is a key theme on the third day of this event. The International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) will explain where we stand in the process toward paperless travel. It paved the way for the electronic consignment note, but many challenges remain today, Secretary General Cesare Brand will explain. Klara Paardenkooper, DM Knowledge Center Sustainable PortCity Rotterdam, will elaborate on blockchain applications, while Walter Kusters of the Erasmus University Rotterdam will explain how rail data collected in clouds can result in self-organising logistics chains.

But digital solutions are not the only topics on the agenda this day. Sebastiaan Bennink en Yvo Amar will talk about the sanctions on Iran and how to deal with these limitations. Patrick Koolen form Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail will discuss the availability of network capacity for rail freight, while Niek Lentink will show how maintenance can be carried out without interrupting railway traffic.

Freight and Terminal Forum

The workshop programme is only one part of the Freight and Terminal Forum. On 28 March, a conference will take place about terminal efficiency for rail. The most notable rail freight companies will be awarded with a dedicated rail freight award, and several startups will present their product at the Startup Festival.

Registration for this event is still open. Note that you need to register for each of the workshops you are interested in, after completing your registration for the event.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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