26 March 2014

Stakeholders call upon Member States to support the facilitation of intermodal transport

The European Shippers' Council (ESC), the European association of freight forwarders and logistics service providers (CLECAT) and the European Intermodal Association (EIA) have issued a letter today urging the Council of the EU to amend the EU regulation on 45-foot containers in support of intermodal transport.

The associations are jointly of the opinion that EU legislation should be amended to create legal certainty to allow EU cross border use of standardised 45-foot containers and swapbodies. In April 2013, the Commission published a proposal for a Directive amending Directive 96/53/EC laying down the maximum authorised dimensions and weights for certain road vehicles. Part of the proposal was to allow for the cross-border transport of 45-foot containers if the road transport of the container or swap body is part of an intermodal transport operation.

The associations support this proposal as it would reduce the administrative burden on the industry to employ 45-foot containers, the benefits of which are well acknowledged in terms of fuel efficiency, congestion and climate change mitigation. However, they do not support the additional condition proposed by the Commission which is limiting the use of these containers to road legs which are less than 300 km in the territory of the European Union or just as far as the closest terminals between which there is a regular service.

Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT noted that quite a number of existing operations and benefits would be rendered impossible by a limit on the road-leg of 300 km coupled with proposed restrictions on national derogations and special permits, in particular routes that do entail a road leg in excess of 300 km, but nevertheless also have a rail leg in excess of 1,000 km with significant impacts on overall GHG emissions.

In addition to this, CLECAT, EIA and ESC cannot support the recent vote in the European Parliament Transport Committee replacing the definition of "intermodal transport" as put forward in the Commission proposal by the one of "combined transport" used in Directive 1992/106 (Combined Transport Directive).

Peter Wolters, Secretary General of the EIA said: 'We believe that the use of the definition of 'combined transport', which is actually intended to provide the means to distinguish operations that might benefit from exemptions from national road taxes and tariffs is mistaken as it would restrict the development of using alternative modes of transport in modern supply chains.'

Willem Buitenkamp, chair of the ESC inland transport committee added: 'there are great opportunities to further advance the use of intermodal transport in Europe. Legislation should refrain from setting arbitrary limits to shippers and other users on the road legs as this would in the end be counterproductive to a more sustainable transport system for Europe.'

The joint letter can be found HERE

The pdf version of the press release can be found here


For more information contact:

Nicolette van der Jagt
Director-General, European Freight Forwarders' Organisation (CLECAT), nicolettevdjagt@clecat.org

Peter Wolters
Secretary General, European Intermodal Association, peter.wolters@eia-ngo.com

Willem Buitenkamp,
Chairman, Road Transport Council, European Shippers Council, w.buitenkamp@ziggo.nl