Commercial vehicle industry criticises unbalanced approach to transport modes in the EU

The commercial vehicle industry again cautioned EU policy makers against the risk of pitting one transport mode against the other.

During an event organised by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) in December, Harrie Schippers, President of DAF Trucks and Chairman of ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Board stated: “The increasing demand for transport and the need to protect the environment pose a challenge to the entire transport sector, our governments and the energy sector alike. Limiting mobility, however, is not an option, so more flexible transport solutions will be needed in the future.”

All transport modes will therefore have to increase their supply, efficiency and environmental performance to meet tomorrow’s transport needs. “Different types of goods will be more suited to different types of modes. That is why transport modes shouldn’t be put in competition with each other by pushing for political ‘modal shift’ targets,” stated Mr Schippers.

Rather, the crucial question of what it is we will be transporting in the future – and what modes are best suited to these cargos – needs to be urgently addressed when preparing a transport policy for the next decade, said Schippers. 

According to an ACEA report, the European Commission’s suggestion to shift road freight over 300 km to rail is not supported by any of the most recent independent scientific research, nor does it make sense from an economic or environmental point of view. “Contrary to the common assumption, rail is not by default more environmentally-friendly than road,” it says.

“It is therefore not logical that the main infrastructure funding tool at the EU level – the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – excludes road works,” said Mr Schippers. “We call on EU policy makers to redress the balance between transport modes.”

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