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ESC stelde interessante vragen aan DG MOVE

Karamitsos 1Bron: ESC - Peter Wolters - 12/01/16

Onlangs was één van de medewerkers van het European Shippers’ Council ‘ Dhr. Peter Wolters / Sustainability Business Development Manager’ op bezoek bij DG MOVE en had daar de mogelijkheid om interessante vragen te stellen. Hier alvast het interview:

1. Please illustrate the 'face' or working structure of EC/DG Mobility & Transport dealing with trade, logistics and related intermodal issues. Who or which unit is responsible for which field? Is there a consultation with other Directorate Generals (trade; environment; research)?

Promoting multimodal (including intermodal) transport is one of the main objectives of the EU transport policy as established in the 2011 White Paper on Transport. This priority has been reflected in the structure and working methods of the Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, DG MOVE, where a dedicated team in the Maritime Transport and Logistics Unit is dealing with logistics and multimodal/intermodal transport issues. Furthermore, working groups bringing together experts from units responsible for specific modes of transport and from other Commission departments concerned are set up as necessary to follow new initiatives or specific problems. While it is important to have a dedicated team that ensures overview and coherence, we also try to put together all relevant expertise when developing our policy.

2. Due to the (short term, client & corridor limited) commercial relation between seaport terminals and inland port locations, many empty containers must be returned directly, which can be inefficient and therefore unsustainable. Often the market can't 'afford' to develop sustainable (long term, network based) sharing concepts in the hinterland. What kind of framework conditions could DG MOVE create to facilitate this kind of innovative port-hinterland approaches?

Optimisation of the use of containers is key to increasing load factors and avoid empty runs. This is true for the connection between ports and their hinterland as well as more generally along the supply chain. Further to first EU-funded projects like Modulushca which aim at optimizing the organization of loading units, the Commission announced in October the launch of new calls for proposals aimed at supporting the development of modular loading units as well as at looking into the potential of the Physical Internet. In parallel, the Commission launched in July 2015 a Forum on Digital Transport and Logistics which will amongst others look at ways to optimize cargo flows along transport corridors, in particular through more collaborative logistics.

3. Shippers have always been advocating a free road cabotage. However, this has not been realized until now. It seems that a move in the opposite direction is taking place, where the road cabotage operations are monitored more carefully than they used to be. Would as a first step to free cabotage the elimination of restrictions on road cabotage within an intermodal operation be a feasible step to be considered?

According to existing legislation (Regulation 1072/2009) on common rules for access to the international road haulage market, road cabotage is allowed under certain conditions. Once the goods carried in the course of an incoming international carriage have been delivered, hauliers are allowed to carry out up to three cabotage operations within 7 days. The Commission has carried out an evaluation of this rule which appears to be hardly enforceable by the national authorities. This is a matter which will be further assessed in the context of the forthcoming road package which has been announced for 2016. As regards the intermodal transport, the Combined Transport Directive (92/106/EC) supports the cross-border intermodal transport with short road leg – a transport solution that helps to reduce the environmental impact and related social cost of long-distance transport. According to the Directive's Article 4, as confirmed by the European Union Court of Justice, the road cabotage restrictions do not apply to road legs in combined transport, even if the road leg does not cross a border. The reasoning is that a combined transport operation has to be viewed as a single international transport operation. When assessing the rules on cabotage in the context of the 2016 road package the Commission will ensure full consistency with the rules applicable to combined transport.

4. Are there any measures to be expected of the Combined Transport Directive which is currently under review

The Fit for Purpose (REFIT) evaluation of the Combined Transport Directive looked at the implementation of the Directive during the past 22 years and its impacts. It evaluated the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency of the directive; its coherence with other EU measures and assessed the value added of EU action. The analysis concluded that the directive's objectives continue to be relevant in the light of EU policy of reducing negative externalities in the transport sector, in particular as regards air pollution, accidents and congestion, which are predominantly caused by road transport. At the same time, the analysis identified several issues where effectiveness and efficiency of the directive could be improved. In this regard, the Commission will consider these issues and reflect on what is the best way forward.

5. CO2 footprint certification in transport requires globally accepted standards, technical certification and strong industrial consolidation. Please share your thoughts what action you expect of the market, and the potential role of DG MOVE.
Carbon footprint certification has a large potential for improving both cost-efficiency and environmental performance of transport operations. The standardisation of carbon footprint measurement and certification for freight transport services was established already in the 2011 White Paper on Transport as one of the actions to reduce the carbon emissions.
In 2014, DG MOVE commissioned an external study on carbon footprinting and carried out a broad stakeholder consultation. The study showed a clear need for improvement of the methodological harmonisation of carbon footprinting. It also gave an overview on the industry's efforts underway and confirmed the role of the European Commission in this process. Carbon footprinting policy will contribute to the Energy Union Strategy, focusing on decarbonising the transport system and internalising external costs. The Commission is currently reflecting on relevant actions that may be pursued in this context and has opened up concrete support possibilities for industry-led activities. A specific topic under the 2016-2017 Horizon 2020 call for proposals has already been launched in October 2015, in order to establish a co-ordinated network fostering communication, collaboration and consensus-building on harmonised methodologies for carbon footprint calculation along the transport supply chain.

6. OECD foresees a tripling of maritime overseas traffic the next 35 years. On top of that, the upcoming TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) might result in a new 'highway' between USA - EU, especially when nearly all customs duties on manufactured goods will be removed. Subsequently, into what extend does DG MOVE want to take aboard the interests of manufacturers (shippers, cargo owners) to set new priorities aimed at de-congesting EU infrastructure (ports, terminals, etc)?
DG MOVE is in contact with stakeholders, including shippers, to collect their views and be able to take their interests into account for policy development. Furthermore, specific public consultations are carried out on all new initiatives as foreseen by the Better Regulation Package of the European Commission.
Better use of infrastructure, in particular terminal and port infrastructure, is often related to better planning of transport flows as well as faster procedures. In this regard, the Commission has been actively working on initiatives that help to reduce red tape. Most important among these is the Single Windows system, and efforts continue to optimise information flows by means of greater digitalization. In the latter regard, the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum, which gathers experts from national administrations and industry, is expected to examine what initiatives would be necessary to achieve a full digitalization of transport and logistics across the EU.

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