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Brussels publishes blueprint for green transport

[ December 11, 2020   //   ]

The European Commission has published its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy together with an action plan of 82 initiatives for the next four years, laying out how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. It aims to cut emissions by 90% by 2050.

It anticipates that zero-emission marine vessels will be market-ready by 2030 and large aircraft by 2035. By 2050, nearly all heavy-duty road vehicles will be zero-emission while rail freight traffic will double. It will also create zero-emission airports and ports through new initiatives to promote sustainable aviation and maritime fuels.

The Commission also says it will reinforce the Single Market – for instance through investments to complete the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) by 2030.

Currently, transport emissions represent around one quarter of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Forwarder’s group CLECAT welcomed the pragmatic approach and policy directions outlined in the strategy. However, it doubted that the Commission’s ambition to shift a substantial amount of freight to rail or inland waterway was realistic, given the limited progress achieved over the last decades. If there are no reliable and economically viable alternative solutions, as well as sufficient capacity, forced modal shift policies will fail, it warned.

Given the recent political decisions by member states to restrict cabotage operations for road transport, including combined transport Clecat also urged decision-makers to look beyond their borders and to support business in its wish to use more combined transport.

It also wants a clear pathway towards the goal of zero-emission trucks and hydrogen fuelling stations.

Clecat also welcomed the de facto compromise, reached on 8 December, by EU Transport Ministers on the long-delayed reform of European truck tolling framework, following nearly four years of highly contentious negotiations among the member states.

It believes that the Eurovignette Directive reform is a key tool for boosting investments in low-/zero-emission trucks and fuel-saving technologies.

CLECAT is however disappointed that some of its long-standing concerns have not been addressed including its call to apply road charging to all types of vehicles, not just  freight.

Also, allowing Member States to exempt the heavy goods vehicles of less than 12t for the next eight years, coupled with a possibility to exempt the vehicles between 3,5t and 7,5t, used for delivering goods produced on a ‘craft’ basis, will create conditions for unfair  competition.

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