RAIL FREIGHT TRANSPORT IS AN ESSENTIAL ALLY TO ACHIEVE A MULTIMODAL, INTEGRATED AND EFFICIENT SUPPLY CHAIN. IN THE COMING YEARS IT WILL BE KEY TO COMMIT TO A MODAL CHANGE TO ACHIEVE A COMPETITIVE ECONOMY AND PRESERVE THE PLANET IN THE FACE OF THE CONSTANT INCREASE IN TRADE.
Railway freight networks are key to an efficient, low-emission supply chain. In the coming years the transport of raw materials and products will increase by 30%, according to the White Paper on Transport in Europe, drawn up by the Rail Freight Forward alliance.
This increase in logistics operations will also lead to increased environmental pollution if the current high road transport figures are maintained. In terms of saving greenhouse gas emissions, industry players and operators call for administration efforts to focus on increasing the railway share to achieve a sustainable economic model over time, in line with the United Nations targets. Currently, the railway percentage for this type of traffic in Europe stands at 18%, while in Spain it is just over 4%.
Increasing these ratios would bring multiple benefits. The advantages of the flexibility of its combinations, capacity, safety and efficiency make it a very suitable option to achieve fast, safe and non-polluting traffic.
Noah’s Train as a symbol of change
Rail Freight Forward (RFF), an alliance of 16 European freight transport companies, in addition to the Community of European Railway Companies (CER) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) supports the need to increase railway freight transport by 30% by 2030 in order to protect the climate. For this purpose, the journey throughout Europe of “Noah’s Train”, named after its reference to Noah’s Ark, the saving vessel of all animal species during the Universal Flood, has been successfully completed.
This composite of railway cars has been the first international campaign to raise awareness across the whole population of the need to commit to a sustainable transport and the protection of the planet.
A very effective channel in the current situation
The railway has been the great support in Europe given the health emergency situation. In a single unit with an average of 33 containers, it has been posible to transport some 660 net tonnes of food and thus avoid 30 trucks to make those journeys, according to calculations of logistics companies operating in Spain and Europe.
Other essential goods and diverse medical equipment (beds, protective equipment, etc.) have also been mobilized, eliminating a large number of trucks from the road.
A necessary boost in Spain
Freight railway routes have a weight in the Spanish national market five times lower than the European average. The issue of the desirability of increasing its quota is already on the table and the lines of work required to meet this challenge in the coming years have been proposed.
On the one hand, industry players (logistics companies, private operators, etc.) consider it essential to recover intermodal traffic, to rely on large capacity border terminals, the increase of exclusive connections in UIC width, as well as operational improvements.
Projects such as the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Corridor, within the nine set up as a priority by Europe, will also serve to gain in weight and efficiency against other modes.