Much unnecessary transport is being caused by the 'Just-in-time' system of industrial stock management, by differences in social conditions for drivers as between Member States, and most recently by e-commerce. Food travels all over Europe before arriving on our tables! Therefore we need, for example, a revival of local and regional markets, particularly in food. Avoiding the associated external environmental and social costs is even better than trying to internalise them.
Our solutions to tackle the freight issue:
- Adjust competition between transport modes to abolish disadvantages for more sustainable modes: remove unfair advantages for the road and air modes in the fields of infrastructure financing, taxation, social rules, safety and environmental standards. The EU should keep this in mind in it's liberalisation of the transport market;
- Avoid the decrease of rail transport by 30-40%, as shown in the recent McKinsey study, by a soon "Eurovignette 3" directive, that should include minima for higher charging rates pro kilometer (based on internalising the external costs) for all trucks on all roads, as being inspired on the Swiss model;
The Swiss model for charging road freight transport can be considered as a model for the entire Alpine sensitive region and could inspire the EU common transport policy.In Switzerland the toll is not only financing new rail infrastructure but has already created a shift in goods transport. The transport of oil was moved in a few years from a 70% percent road-based scheme to a 70% train-based scheme today.
- Develop innovative intermodal solutions for freight, improving logistics and management within transport (freight via railway, waterborne and combined transport). Well controlled infrastructure use and vehicles occupancy show a potential of at least 20 % energy saving within 10 years;
- Support Electrified rail networks, as they have a potential of intensive use of renewable energy sources within its political and industrial frame for both research investments and application investments;
Double the level on freight rail transport with the installation of a single signalling system (ERTMS) on the freight corridors. The pilot project Rotterdam-Genova should be implemented as soon as possible.