Inland ports welcome the proposal to take Europe’s transport infrastructure into the future
On 14 December the European Commission published its Efficient and Green Mobility Package (EGMP). The package outlines various actions that will future-proof the European transport network, further support multimodal transport and increase urban mobility solutions; all in order to achieve a sustainable European logistics area.
The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) brings together nearly 200 inland ports and port authorities in 18 countries of the European Union, Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine. As enablers of Green Logistics, the Green and Efficient Mobility Package constitutes an intersection of priorities that Europe’s inland ports have been pursuing since the publication of the EFIP Strategy Paper in 2019.
For inland ports, the revision of the TEN-T Guidelines is paramount. The TEN-T is the foundation for the development of the EU’s transport system. A strong logistical sector is key to the economic growth and competitiveness of Europe and a logistical sector is only as strong as its underlining network. This revision is essential as it revises the TEN-T in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.
At a first glance, EFIP is happy to see that points from its positions on TEN-T and the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation (RFCR) have been taken up. Especially the inclusion of the Rail Freight Corridors Regulation into the TEN-T is very welcome and will help reduce overlapping legislation that now exists.
The expanded section pertaining to multimodal freight terminals is essential. The Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy sets an ambitious modal shift objective. Having Member States, together with operators, analyse and plan new terminals will allow for multimodal transport to grow beyond where it is now and realise the interconnected network of the future.
As outlined in the EFIP position paper, climate change leads to extreme weather events, which can be clearly seen in 2018 (drought) and 2021 (floods). As these events intensify, infrastructure needs to be adapted to it. The inclusion in the revised TEN-T of climate change resilience is therefore very welcome by inland ports.
Expansion of cities and urban nodes is a vital priority. Requirement to adopt a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) and collect relevant data will allow cities to reach their climate goals. Inland ports play a major role in improving first and last mile connectivity through sustainable and innovative solutions for both freight and passenger transport and these proposals are needed.
Essential points are however missing. Across Europe, rail connections to ports are under pressure, being removed or completely unusable. This makes the achievement of the modal shift objective extremely difficult. European inland ports need support from the TEN-T to ensure that they have 21st century rail connections and protect their rail connections. At the same time the revised TEN-T does not recognise passenger transport in inland ports, which ignores their relevance in transporting people.
EFIP President Friedrich Lehr welcomed the EGMP and commented: “European ports have been working hard to expand multimodal transport and launch new urban mobility solutions. New rail services connected to inland shipping support the modal shift while collaborations between cargo-cycling and waterborne transport provide new urban solutions. It is heartening to see this reflected in the European proposals as well.”