EPCA '11: Intermodal transport strategy could boost Europe logistics

02 October 2011 17:24  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Europe’s logistics sector is facing challenging times but EU targets to improve efficiency and encourage intermodal transport could be a boon for the industry, Austrian-headquartered LKW Walter said on Sunday.

The sector is still facing escalating fuel costs, driver shortages and a lack of capacity, said the company's director Andreas Zink.

However, a strategic paper from the European Commission aims to improve the transport network in the region and should buoy the sector after an incredibly tough period.

Zink was speaking on the sidelines of the 45th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

The White Paper – Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system – was published in March and should present many opportunities, both environmentally and commercially.

“[The logistics sector] is very challenging from one month to the next and we cannot predict anything for the moment,” said Zink.

“In the long run we have a big hope in what is written in the White Paper. The model is definitely the key for a more stable future. With the new White Paper we hope that Europe is really starting to invest in infrastructure, not only for the transport of people but also for goods.”

Among the main goals is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through intermodal transport - where cargoes on swap bodies and trailers can quickly and easily be transferred between truck, train and ship – offering far greater efficiency.

The Commission aims to cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050. It says that by 2030, 30% of all European transport moving over 300km (186 miles) should be intermodal. By 2050, this figure is set to rise to 50%, said Zink.

Intermodal transport has been central to LKW Walter’s business for decades. Based on 200,000 shipments in 2010, intermodal transport meant LKW Walter was able to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 115,000 tonnes/year, said Zink.

“These have been tough times; in 2009 transport rates went down by 20-25%. 2010 started to recover and there was a lot of optimism earlier this year but some of that optimism has gone now. 2011 has so far been a good year so let’s see what the year end will bring.”

By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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